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Managing Diabetes Complications

As you may already know, controlling your blood glucose is important for avoiding hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia—blood glucose lows and highs.

By keeping your blood glucose level in your target range, you may delay or prevent long-term complications. High blood glucose levels can damage many parts of your body, including your eyes, heart and toes. The good news is that you, along with your healthcare professional, may be able to lessen the impact of diabetes complications on your life.

This section list some of the more common diabetes-related complications, their symptoms and treatments, and some steps your healthcare professional may recommend to help reduce your risk.

Foot Problems

Proper foot care is an important part of a person with diabetes’ daily routine. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the legs and feet. This can lead to nerve damage, poor circulation, infections and foot deformities.

Diabetes is often associated with foot problems and amputation. Not including those caused by accidents or trauma, more than 60% of lower-limb amputations performed each year are on people with diabetes. 1

What to Look For

The American Diabetes Association recommends that your feet be examined at least once a year—more often if you have foot problems.2 If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your healthcare professional:3

  • Less pain or less sensitivity in the leg or foot
  • Cuts or breaks in the skin
  • Ingrown nails
  • Changes in the shape of your foot
  • Corns or calluses

Healthy Diabetic Foot-Care Habits

By keeping your blood sugar within the range recommended by your healthcare professional and paying special attention to your feet every day, you may be able to prevent long-term complications. For healthy toes and feet, follow these simple steps:4

  • Check your feet regularly
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit
  • Wash your feet daily with soap and lukewarm water
  • Trim your toenails straight across and not too short

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet, 2007. Available at:http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2007.pdf. Accessed November 11, 2008.
2 American Diabetes Association. Foot care. Available at:http://diabetes.org/for-parents-and-kids/what-is-diabetes/foot-care.jsp. Accessed February 20, 2008.
3National Institute of Diabetes and digestive and Kidney Diseases. Prevent diabetes problems: keep your feet and skin healthy." Available at:http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/complications_feet. Accessed February 20, 2008.
4 MedlinePlus. Foot health. Available at:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/foothealth.html. Accessed February 20, 2008.

 

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