Long-term effects of being a Diabetic

Diabetes can debilitate patients as it has many long-term health complications. Damage to blood vessels is the most common long-term effect of type 2 diabetes. Due to this, diabetics are up to five times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Besides damage to the blood vessels, chronic diabetes may also lead to other complications. Foot problems in long-term diabetics are primarily due to circulation difficulties, which can result in skin infections or deformities of the foot.
As diabetes damages nerves, patients may not feel an injury to the foot until a sore or infection develops. As chronic diabetes is a disease for life, diabetics should follow certain lifestyle changes to best maintain this disease. In most cases you’ll need to permanently adjust your lifestyle in order to prevent it from getting worse, and to minimize the chance of complications. Eating healthily, reducing alcohol intake, being a healthy weight, exercising and not smoking can all help.

Foot Care for a Diabetic:

Foot care is very important for all people with diabetes. If you take care of your feet every day, you can keep your feet healthy. Managing your blood sugar will keep your feet healthy. Follow these steps to avoid any foot problems or infections:
• Check your feet every day for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, and infected toenails. You may have foot problems, but feel no pain in your feet.
• Wash your feet every day in warm, not hot, water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get dry.
• Keep the skin soft and smooth.
• Apply lotion on the tops and bottoms of your feet.
• If you have corns or calluses, check with your foot doctor about the best way to care for them. If your doctor tells you to, use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses after bathing or showering to smooth the skin. Rub gently, only in one direction, to avoid tearing the skin. Do not cut corns and calluses. Do not use razor blades, corn plasters, or liquid corn and callus removers – they can damage your skin and cause an infection.
• Trim your toenails regularly.
• Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot when indoors or outside.
• Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach and on hot pavement. You may burn your feet and may not know it. Apply sunscreen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn.
• Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when you are sitting. Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to help blood flow in your feet and legs.

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