It is a condition where insulin (the hormone responsible for metabolizing glucose) function is impaired.
Diabetes is a result of either the body is unable to produce insulin or when the body can only produce insufficient amounts of insulin that is needed by the body.
Insulin is needed to move glucose from the blood stream into the body’s cells and the liver, if this is not done excess glucose remains in the blood causing damage to body organs and tissues.
Type 1 Diabetes:
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce insulin because the cells that make the insulin have been destroyed by the body’s own immune system. This insulin must be replaced. This is done through insulin injections.
Type 2 Diabetes:
Initially insulin is still produced by the pancreas but it is less effective or just not enough produced. This is called insulin resistance and is an inherited characteristic made extremely worse by being overweight or obese. The pancreas may become exhausted and less insulin is produced over time.
Why is the foot of great concern in people who have diabetes?
Diabetes damages the nerves:
Diabetes damages the nerves, leading to peripheral neuropathy. This means that the nerve fibres and receptors are damaged leading to a loss of sensation.
If you cut yourself you may not be able to feel any pain and not know you have an injured foot which can become infected easily. It some cases the foot can become gangrene.
Diabetes affects vascular circulation:
Diabetes affects your circulation from your heart through to all the blood vessels that lead to your feet. The feet are the furthest away from your heart and don’t always get blood flow with sufficient oxygen and nutrients. Therefore healing of wound can be slow or impaired.
Diabetes affects the joints:
Diabetes affects the joints by rendering the collagen and other soft tissues stiff and rigid. This can cause pressure areas on the feet that can ultimately ulcerate because you can’t feel the pressure and unable to heal the pressure sores.
There is also a condition called Charcot foot. This condition can occur in people with diabetes. The foot completely collapses causing pain and major deformity of the foot.
To find out more and book an appointment, call Kew Foot Clinic 03 9853 6877