If you suffer from diabetes, you know how important it is to pay special attention to your feet. One of the reasons for that is the risk of nerve damage. Because November is Diabetes Awareness Month, Dr. Joel Segalman, Dr. Stephen Lazaroff, and Dr. Brittany Ciaramello at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC in New Haven County and Fairfield County are sharing information regarding how diabetes can produce nerve damage in your feet.
About half of diabetics experience some type of diabetic nerve damage. Nerve damage can appear in any part of your body, but the nerves in your legs and feet are affected more frequently. If you suffer nerve damage, you lose the feeling in your feet and it diminishes your ability to feel heat, cold, or pain.
Being able to live without pain sounds great, but it comes at a cost. Some patients experience tingling, pain, or numbness, while others have no symptoms at all.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong so you can address the problem. If you can’t feel pain in your feet, you may not notice a blister, sore, cut, or other issues. If not treated promptly, small problems can escalate.
The most important action you can take to prevent nerve damage or stop it from worsening is to monitor your blood sugar as much as possible. Other good diabetes management habits include:
Don’t smoke as it restricts blood flow to the feet;
Eat a healthy diet, including eating less salt and sugar and more vegetables and fruit.
Stay active —10 - 20 minutes a day is better than one hour one time a week.
Take medications as prescribed.
People with diabetes can develop nerve damage, but these factors elevate the risk:
Unmanageable blood sugar levels;
Having diabetes for an extended period, mainly if your blood sugar is frequently higher than your target levels.
Being over the age of 40;
Being overweight or obese;
Living with high blood pressure;
Having high levels of cholesterol.
Nerve damage and poor blood flow, which is another complication of diabetes, puts you at risk for developing a foot ulcer that could become infected and take a long time to heal. If the infection doesn’t improve with treatment, amputation may be needed as a life-saving measure to prevent the infection from spreading.
When you examine your feet daily, you can identify issues early and have them treated immediately. If you are living with diabetes and haven’t had your feet checked recently, contact the office of Dr. Joel Segalman, Dr. Stephen Lazaroff, and Dr. Brittany Ciaramello at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC in New Haven County and Fairfield County to schedule a consultation. You can reach our Waterbury office at (203) 755-0489 or our Newtown office at, (203) 270-6724.