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The Sugar Bug

M M Sharma

3.      Heart and blood vessel diseases
Diabetes dramatically increases your risk of developing one of many cardiovascular problems, including:
  1. Chest Pain (Angina)
  2. Heart Attack
  3. Stroke
  4. High Blood Pressure
  5. It is a well known fact now that 2 out of 3 persons with diabetes die of a heart disease or a stroke.
4.   Nerve damage
  • Unfortunately, about 60 to 70 per cent of people with diabetes already have at least a mild form of nerve damage.
  • Ways in which nerve damage may appear:
  1. Loss of sweating which can cause dry skin, cracks in the skin, and callus build-up
  2. Pain, tingling, burning, and numbness that start in the feet and slowly progress upwards to the calves
  3. Loss of tendon reflex and sense of vibration to a tuning fork
  4. Inability to detect excessive heat such as in a bath or heating pad
  5. Inability to detect objects in shoes, like pebbles, paper clips, safety pins, tacks, or coins, leading to injury, infection and ulcers too
  6. Weakness in small muscles of the foot that causes the toes to claw, and in later stages, cause foot drop.
  7. Ulcers occur after feeling is lost, combined with an abnormal gait and foot deformities (once you can’t feel the ground, you can’t walk right)
5.   Take special care of your feet if you are diabetic
Although amputations are 15 times more common with diabetes, about half of it can be prevented with simple steps that protect the feet.
  1. Use your eyes and hands daily to sense existing or potential damage to your feet.
  2. Keep a mirror on the floor near your bed to conveniently look at the bottom of your feet for redness, sores and cracks in the skin.
  3. Bacteria love cracks and crevices in the skin – keep lanolin or other moisturizing lotion handy and use it regularly.
  4. Never walk barefooted, even to the bathroom.
  5. Avoid wearing open shoes.
  6. Thick socks are great.
  7. Tennis shoes and suede shoes are least likely to create foot problems.
  8. Never wear new shoes without checking for red pressure spots and early blisters. Shoes must fit well at the time of purchase.
  9. Always check the insides of your shoes before putting your feet into them. Dry and clean shoes can keep one from getting athlete’s foot.
  10. Corns and calluses need to be treated early – these deformities present the same danger as having a pebble in your shoe that causes repeated trauma to one area of the foot.
  11. Wash and dry your feet thoroughly each day as it brings down the bacteria count.
  12. Don’t reduce your blood flow by crossing your legs.
  13. Trim your toenails straight across. Ingrown toenails are another frequent trigger for infections and ulcers.
  14. If you have any existing foot problems or deformities, be sure you see your doctor regularly.
Signs of blood vessel injury in the feet:
  • Pain at night, relieved by hanging the feet over the side of the bed
  • Thin and shiny appearing skin
  • Loss of hair from the toes and feet
  • A pale colour of the foot when it is raised
6.      Sex and Diabetes
  •  Long-term Diabetes can cause damage to the nervous system, which is involved in the complex process of erection. This means men with diabetes may suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) and be unable to get or maintain an erection. As many as a third of men with diabetes experience ED.
  • Some men discover they have diabetes only when they seek treatment for their erectile dysfunction.
  • Women with uncontrolled diabetes are known to have low arousal.
  • Women with diabetes are prone to recurring vaginal inflammation (Vaginitis).

M M Sharma
is a yoga practitioner, a marathon runner and a corporate trainer.
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