Facebook Twitter instagram Youtube

What is Diabetic Foot & Diabetic Neuropathy, Risk Factors, Prevention & Treatment


Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is diabetic foot and diabetic neuropathy, which can lead to serious health issues if not properly managed. In this blog, we will explore what diabetic foot ulcer and diabetic neuropathy are, how they occur, and what steps can be taken to prevent and manage these conditions.


What is Diabetic Foot?


Diabetic foot is a complication that can occur in people with diabetes. It is characterized by a loss of blood flow to the feet, which can lead to a lack of oxygen and nutrients to the feet. This can cause the skin and underlying tissues to become damaged, leading to the development of sores and ulcers. If left untreated, these sores can become infected and lead to serious complications such as amputation.


How Does Diabetic Foot Occur?


Diabetic foot is caused by a combination of factors, including poor blood flow, nerve damage, and poor wound healing. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing diabetic foot ulcer because the disease can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves, which can make it difficult for the body to heal wounds and fight off infections. Additionally, high blood sugar levels can make it difficult for the body to fight off infections, making it more likely that foot ulcer will become infected.


What are the Risks of Diabetic Foot?


There are several risks associated with diabetic foot, including:


  • Amputation: If left untreated, sores and ulcers on the feet can become infected and lead to the need for amputation.
  • Infection: People with diabetic foot pain are at a higher risk of developing infections, which can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly.
  • Chronic wound: Sores and diabetic foot ulcer on the feet can become chronic wounds, which can take a long time to heal and can lead to serious complications if not properly managed.
  • Death: In severe cases, diabetic foot can lead to death if the infection spreads to other parts of the body.


What is Diabetic Neuropathy?


Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the nerves. It occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the nerves, leading to symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet. In severe cases, diabetic neuropathy can also lead to problems with the digestive system, urinary tract, and heart.


How Does Diabetic Neuropathy Occur?


Diabetic neuropathy is caused by high blood sugar levels, which can damage the nerves over time. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they are to develop diabetic neuropathy. Additionally, people with poorly controlled diabetes are at a higher risk of developing diabetic neuropathy.


How Does Diabetic Neuropathy Affect Other Organs?


Diabetic neuropathy can affect other organs in the body, such as the stomach and intestines. This can lead to problems such as diabetic gastroparesis, which is a condition in which the stomach takes too long to empty. This can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and bloating. Additionally, diabetic neuropathy can also affect the urinary tract, leading to problems such as incontinence.


How to Identify Diabetic Neuropathy?


There are a number of ways to identify diabetic neuropathy, including:

  • Wearing slippers or shoes to bed: People with diabetic neuropathy may have a loss of sensation in their feet, so they may not be aware of injuries or infections that occur while they are sleeping.
  • No sensation: People with diabetic neuropathy may not be able to feel injuries or infections in their feet, which can lead to serious problems.


Preventing Diabetic Foot and Diabetic Neuropathy


Preventing diabetic foot and diabetic neuropathy is not always possible, but there are steps that can be taken to control these conditions and minimize the risk of complications. These steps include:

  • Controlling diabetes: Keeping blood sugar levels under control can help prevent damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the feet.
  • Eating a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is low in sugar and saturated fat can help control diabetes and prevent complications.
  • Taking care of the feet: Keeping the feet clean and dry can help prevent infections.
  • Wearing soft slippers: Wearing soft slippers can help protect the feet from injuries and infections.
  • Avoiding tight, pointed shoes: Wearing shoes that are too tight or have a pointed toe can cause injuries and infections.
  • Monitoring foot health: Regularly inspecting the feet for sores, cuts, or signs of infection and seeking prompt treatment if necessary.
  • Managing weight: Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent complications associated with diabetes.
  • Monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels: High blood pressure and cholesterol levels can contribute to the development of diabetic foot pain and diabetic neuropathy.


Treatment for Diabetic Foot and Diabetic Neuropathy


Treatment for diabetic foot and diabetic neuropathy typically involves a combination of medical and lifestyle interventions. The specific treatment plan will depend on the individual case and the stage of the condition.


Medical treatments for foot ulcer may include:

  • Antibiotics to treat or prevent infections.
  • Wound care to promote healing of sores or injuries.
  • Debridement to remove dead or infected tissue.
  • Surgery to correct structural problems with the foot or to remove infected tissue.
  • Amputation in severe cases where the foot cannot be saved.


Diabetic neuropathy treatment may include:


  • Medications to relieve pain and other symptoms, such as neuropathic pain medications and antidepressants.
  • Physical therapy can improve muscle coordination.
  • Occupational therapy to help with activities of daily living.
  • Lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and alcohol can also help to manage diabetic neuropathy.
Medanta Medical Team
Back to top