What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Easy way to remember:
Neuro = Nerves Pathy =Disease
Greek & Latin Roots
In layman’s terms diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage.
In diabetes, high blood sugars cause damage to nerve fibers, most often in the person’s legs and feet.
What Does This Mean?
Often people with diabetic neuropathy have 2 major issues:
1. Difficulty feeling their feet
The nerve damage can cause numbness in certain areas or the whole foot.
2. Difficulty healing
Often there is also a slow of blood flow (blood brings oxygen and healing agents)
What Can Happen
1. Difficulty feeling feet: If a person with full sensation in their feet steps on a nail, the immediate pain will make a person get off the nail. However if you do not have full feeling in the bottom of your foot, you may not get off of the nail as quickly as needed. Someone who has peripheral neuropathy may suffer injuries in their feet they do not feel.
2. Infection: Decreased blood flow, means that there is also a decreased ability for oxygen and other healing agents to get to wounds quickly. In diabetic neuropathy simple cuts can become sores, and sores can become wounds and wounds can be very hard to heal.
So What To Do?
There are several things patients with diabetes need to be mindful about.
4 Foot Tips for Diabetics
1. Wear shoes, even if it is just slippers around the house. This will protect your feet from injury. Also wear shoes that fit. Shoes that are too small may cause friction and wounds on parts of the foot.
2. Carefully wash and dry your feet! You always want to make sure your feet are dry in the crevices of your toes. Fungal infections can form in small, damp places!
3. Be careful about nail salons basins. Some times proper precautions are not taken to clean the basins and bacteria can be left in the water jets of the basins. With diabetic neuropathy you have to be extremely careful about not getting infections in your feet.
4. If you are cutting your own nails, cut them straight, and do not cut the skin around them. Try to not cut too close too your skin to avoid cuts and bleeding.