The management of diabetes can be a daunting task for those affected. In addition to maintaining healthy eating habits, staying active, taking medications, and attending medical appointments, people with diabetes must also pay attention to their feet.
According to Dr. Daniel Lamar of Luke Air Force Base, poorly controlled diabetes can lead to nerve and blood vessel damage in the feet, resulting in a loss of sensation and potential for sores and infections. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and foot problems are common among those with the disease. Checking and caring for feet daily and managing blood glucose levels can help prevent foot-related complications.
Furthermore, Lamar notes that diabetes can cause complications throughout the body, including nerve damage in the retinas, nontraumatic amputations, dialysis, and blindness. If experiencing pain, tingling, loss of sensation, changes in foot shape or color, thickened toenails, or infections, it is important to see a doctor immediately.
Prevention is key in maintaining foot health for those with diabetes. By controlling blood sugar levels, managing weight, and regularly seeing a healthcare provider, the risk of long-term complications can be greatly reduced.
There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2, each with unique causes and treatments. Type 1 diabetes is rare and cannot be prevented, while Type 2 diabetes is caused primarily by genetic factors and fat tissue. Lamar notes that weight loss can help improve insulin resistance and potentially cure Type 2 diabetes.
The Department of Defense is committed to combatting diabetes and promoting a healthy lifestyle through initiatives such as Lifestyle and Performance Medicine.
According to disease management nurse Rachel Perkins Garner, this lifestyle intervention includes a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, regular exercise, restful sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connections.
These evidence-based interventions can prevent, treat, and even reverse chronic diseases like diabetes. To maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent diabetes-related complications, it is important to prioritize foot health and overall well-being.