Paresthesia in the feet is a diabetes symptom that leads to amputation

Paresthesia in the feet is a diabetes symptom that leads to amputation

11/05/2022

Diabetes UK show how to test feet for diabetic feet sensitivity

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Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. The chronic condition often goes unnoticed for years because the symptoms are subtle at first. However, like all chronic conditions, there is a scale of seriousness, so any unusual changes should not be ignored.

Foot problems are a telltale sign of diabetes. A serious foot problem is when damage to your foot means it needs emergency attention.

Having diabetes means that you’re more at risk of serious foot problems, and these can lead to amputation.

In fact, someone with diabetes is “20 times more likely to experience an amputation”, warns Diabetes UK.

One telltale sign of foot problems is paresthesia, also known as tingling sensation or pins and needles, says the health body.

Other foot problems to be aware of include:

  • Pain (burning)
  • A dull ache
  • Shiny, smooth skin on your feet
  • Hair loss on your legs and feet
  • Loss of feeling in your feet or legs
  • Swollen feet
  • Your feet don’t sweat
  • Wounds or sores that don’t heal
  • Cramp in your calves when resting or walking.

According to Diabetes UK, you should see your GP if you spot any of the above changes.

How prevalent are foot problems?

According to research published in the BMJ, foot disease affects nearly six percent of people with diabetes.

Commonly reported problems include infection, ulceration, or destruction of tissues of the foot.

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The research suggests that only a fraction of the percentage of people who experience foot problems require amputation.

Between 0.03 percent and 1.5 percent of patients with diabetic foot require an amputation.

“Most amputations start with ulcers and can be prevented with good foot care and screening to assess the risk for foot complications,” the BMJ research suggests.

How to prevent foot problems

According to the BMJ, diabetic foot can be prevented with good glycaemic control, regular foot assessment, appropriate footwear, patient education, and early referral for pre-ulcerative lesions.

Glycaemic control is the cornerstone of managing type 2 diabetes and is essential for the prevention of long-term diabetes complications.

The glycaemic response to a food or meal is the effect that food or meal has on blood sugar (glucose) levels after consumption.

Certain carbohydrate foods are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose (sugar).

These culprits, which rank high on the glycaemic index (GI), should be eaten in moderation at best.

The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.

High GI foods include:

  • Sugar and sugary foods
  • Sugary soft drinks
  • White bread
  • Potatoes
  • White rice.

Low or medium GI foods, on the other hand, are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.

Some examples are:

  • Some fruit and vegetables
  • Pulses
  • Wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.

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