Diabetes is a serious medical condition that, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems. However, if you make sure you deal with it, you can avoid the worst of the complications. Unfortunately, the symptoms can be minor or easy to miss by the time the condition becomes severe. It is important that you monitor yourself for possible signs of diabetes. This means that you are checking your feet for a serious symptom. Read on to find out what to look for and to spot other signs of problems. If you notice this on your nails, get your thyroid checked, doctors say.
Foot ulcers are very common in people with diabetes, says Bruce Pinker, DPM, a certified podiatrist and foot surgeon who treats diabetic foot ulcers. According to Pinker, “diabetes suppresses the immune system and reduces the body’s response to stress, infection and injury.” This, in turn, makes it more difficult for diabetics to heal from a wound than for those who do not have diabetes – which can lead to and worsen foot ulcers.
“In many cases, diabetics develop damage to the skin on the underside of the feet, particularly in pressure point areas such as the ball of the foot or the heel,” explains Pinker. “Older people are more likely to develop these pressure-related foot ulcers because the repeated movement of walking over several years puts increased stress on the feet.” And so that you become aware of other health problems: If you see this on your skin, your risk of heart attack is higher, according to a study.
According to Danielle DesPrés, DPM, a board certified foot and ankle surgeon and podiatrist with AdvantageCare Physicians. Stains on your socks can be a sign of diabetic foot ulcers. “This is because foot ulcers are like any other wound on the body – they tend to bleed, so the stains on the sock, which are usually brown, [could be] dried blood oozing from the ulcer site, “DesPrés explains. Other signs of foot ulcer include” a strong foul smelling odor from the bottom of the foot and a sudden onset of swelling or redness in a particular foot, “she adds. And other signs of something serious, if this happens when you eat or drink you need to have your thyroid checked.
According to DesPrés, patients don’t always realize they have a wound or ulcer on their foot. This is because nerve damage, also known as neuropathy, is one of the “most common conditions associated with diabetes,” she says – and this condition can cause burning, tingling, and numbness in the feet that can mask the pain from ulcers and lead to a total loss of sensation in the foot.
Neyla LobkovaDPM, a board-certified podiatrist from NYC, goes on to explain that neuropathy “occurs when diabetes has been uncontrolled for a long time.” If you experience this, you have probably not yet been diagnosed with diabetes and you are unaware of even having this condition. “When this occurs, cuts, blisters, and areas of excessive friction won’t be felt, and if the patient walks on, those areas can continue to collapse and become an ulcer,” says DesPrés. If you’d like to receive more useful information straight to your inbox, subscribe to our daily newsletter.
According to DesPrés, “It is important to know that you have diabetes as it is a disease that can affect many organs in your body, not just your feet.” Diabetes increases your blood sugar, and when blood sugar is consistently high it can affect other organs such as your kidneys and eyes. According to the Mayo Clinic, the main complications of untreated diabetes include heart disease, kidney and eye damage, and hearing problems. As for your feet, if a diabetic ulcer is left untreated and becomes infected, “the bone beneath the ulcer may also become infected and possibly an amputation performed to prevent the infection from spreading,” warns DesPrés.
“I want to tell my patients that the best medicine is prevention. If you have diabetes, the best thing to do is to try to prevent any complications that may be associated with diabetes using your diabetes medication as directed and continuing to use yours Doctors in contact, “says DesPrés. And for more symptoms of diabetes, if you taste this unexpectedly, you may have diabetes, doctors say.