January is the month to make resolutions for the New Year. For 2015 why not make your resolution be centered on keeping your neuropathy at bay? If you are living with diabetes, make sure to do this by managing your disease and checking your feet daily for any wounds you may not be able to feel.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy occurs when your blood sugar levels are extremely high and end up damaging the nerves. This nerve damage can lead to a loss of pain sensation in the limbs, poor motor skills or coordination, numbness, tingling, and pain. Nerve damage can certainly occur in other ways as well (injury, arthritis, exposure to certain chemicals, etc.), but one of the most common causes for it is diabetes. If you live with diabetes, it’s up to you to control your disease through diet, exercise, and medication. If you don’t manage your diabetes you might end up with a diabetic ulcer, which is potentially life-threatening and often results in a necessary amputation.
A major responsibility of someone who lives with diabetes is to check his or her feet daily. Peripheral neuropathy often creates the inability to feel pain, and since our feet are at the bottom of our bodies and covered by socks and shoes, they often go unnoticed. If there is an open wound that isn’t treated and cannot heal, it can become a huge problem.
Check your feet very thoroughly, including around the nails, in between the toes, and by the ankles. It may be hard to crane your neck to see all these hard to reach places so use a pocket mirror or have a loved one assist you. If you do see a cut or sore that wasn’t there before, have it inspected by a doctor as soon as possible. It is also very important to protect your feet by always wearing foot coverings—even when you’re inside! Make sure to check your shoes for any sharp objects that may have fallen in to them first, though.
For more information about smart diabetic foot care, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in one of our three Massachusetts locations.