Nerves depend on multiple tiny vessels which carry nutrients and oxygen to keep intact all the segments of these very long nerves. Damage to one small segment can result in loss of feeling, pain or burning sensations that bother the foot and leg.
Feet:- Diabetes can decrease the blood supply to the foot and gradually damages the nerves which carry sensation. A second micro vascular disease is diabetic foot or diabetic peripheral neuropathy or distal symmetric neuropathy. Neuropathy is the common complication of diabetes, and due to high blood sugar, chemical changes occur in the nerves. It always starts in the feet as they are the longest nerves and fed with longest blood vessels of the body. Generally it is seen in the obese people with high blood sugar levels and age more than 40 years. Neuropathy can develop within a span of first few years and it affects approximately 60% of diabetics.
Signs and symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy
- Decrease or no sweating i.e. dry scaly skin with callus formation.
- Numbness, tingling, and some sort of burning sensation.
- Weakness and loss of reflexes.
- Decrease sensation to the slight change in temperature.
Diabetics need to take care of their feet especially the area between toes, and must not overlook if there is any kind of blisters, ulcer, redness or soreness or formation of callus etc. If any suspicion or doubt arises for the foot then it should be followed by immediate physical examination. The clinical examination will show the sensation in the feet and determine if it is normal or diminished.
Blood flow may be improved with good sources of vitamin E intake along with blood pressure medicine (ACE inhibitors). Although amputations are common with diabetes, about half can be prevented with simple steps that protect the feet.