Our body requires energy to perform the metabolic functions that sustain life. Glucose is a small, simple sugar that serves as a primary fuel for energy production, especially for the brain, muscles and several other body organs and tissues. Diabetes is a condition when the body can’t use glucose normally. The levels of glucose in the blood are controlled by a hormone named Insulin, which is made by the pancreas.
There are three main types of diabetes
Symptoms of diabetes
- Increased urine output
- Excessive thirst
- Unexplained weight loss
- Excessive hunger
- Skin problems
- Slow healing wounds
- Yeast infections
- Tingling or numbness in the feet or toes
Complications of diabetes:
- Foot damage
- Cardiovascular disease
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
- Kidney damage (nephropathy)
- Eye damage (retinopathy)
- Skin conditions
- Hearing impairment
- Alzheimer’s disease
Diabetes and foot damage
Foot problems are common amongst diabetics. Diabetes may cause diabetic neuropathy, that can cause tingling and pain, and make you lose sensation in your feet.
Diabetes can also lower the amount of blood flow in your legs and feet, making it hard for a sore or an infection to heal. Sometimes, a bad infection never heals, leading to gangrene. Gangrene and foot ulcers that do not get heal despite receiving treatment, can lead to an amputation of your toe, foot, or part of your leg.
A surgeon may perform an amputation to prevent a bad infection from spreading to the rest of your body, and to save your life. Good foot care is very important to prevent serious infections and Gangrene.
Although rare, nerve damage from diabetes can lead to changes in the shape of your feet, such as Charcot’s Foot. Charcot’s foot may start with redness, warmth, and swelling. Subsequently, bones in your feet and toes can shift or break, causing your feet to have an odd shape, such as a ‘rocker bottom.’
Foot care tips for diabetics
- Wash your feet every day.
- Check your bare feet every day for any red spot, cuts, swelling, and blisters.
- Wear special shoes to prevent foot ulcers.
- Wear shoes and socks at all time, never walk barefoot.
- Protect your feet from hot and cold temperatures.
Diet tips for diabetics
- Avoid sugar, jaggery, honey and its products
- Avoid Potato, arvi, suran (Elephant foot yam) and sweet potato
- Have small and frequent meals
- No feasting and no fasting
- Be careful about when and how many carbohydrates you eat
- Eating a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables every day
- Have low fat milk and milk products, like cow’s milk, skimmed milk and toned milk
- Have egg whites, chicken, fish. Avoid egg yolk, red meat, dry fish
- Limiting consumption of alcohol
The author is a Nutrition Therapist at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan