Type 2 Diabetes – Diabetic Foot Infections

Type 2 Diabetes – Diabetic Foot Infections – Unfortunately infections are common for people with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, especially in the lower extremities. In fact, foot infections rank as the most common of all. But why the foot? How serious of a problem can foot infections become? And what can be done to avoid them?
The good news is an ounce of prevention right now is worth pounds of cure in the future when it comes to your feet and toes. Feet are often neglected during the day when we take them over all types of terrain and squash them into unsuitable shoes.
The reason infections are so much more of a problem for diabetics than they are for non-diabetics, is because of several different factors. One reason has to do with the fact many diabetics have a sedentary lifestyle, meaning they have little or no physical activity. This helps to lead to poor circulation of their feet and can advance to a serious state before the diabetic is even aware they have a problem.
Another problem is many diabetics do not maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The elevated sugar then goes to work to cause a myriad of complications. One is a buildup of plaque in the arteries that restricts blood flow. Another is the excess amount of sugar in the bloodstream which attacks and begins to destroy nerve endings, most commonly in the legs and especially in the feet.
But the worst way is how the body reacts to foot infections. In a normal setting, the body would sense an infection and immediately send white blood cells to begin repairing the infected area. But since a diabetic has impaired circulation, the number of phagocytic cells (cells that attack and destroy bacteria), are greatly decreased. This means there is a very limited amount of antibodies available to help the infected tissue.
Even the type of infection can range in severity. Foot infections can start with soft tissue infections and progress to severe, chronic infections involving both tissue and bone. From there, they can increase to peripheral vascular disease which involves the large blood vessels and then infections which advance to gangrene.
Not only are the infections more severe as compared to infections non-diabetics develop, but they also take much longer to control and cure. If conditions are not drastically improved and the infection dealt with in an aggressive and consistent manner, there is the probability the foot, or at the very least part of the foot, would have to be amputated.
There are many cases where part of the foot is removed, the infection continues to spread and another amputation is needed in order to stop progression of the damage.
The best way to limit the possibility of developing a foot infection is to thoroughly inspect your feet each day. There is no greater act of prevention than awareness. If necessary use a magnifying glass… some pharmacies carry a device which is a long stick with a magnifying lens on the end (this would make it much easier to view the sole of your foot). And use a good light! Take special note of skin color, temperature, sensation, or changes in the integrity of the skin. Don’t forget to check between each of your toes. As well as feeling great, foot massages can help with circulation also.