Diabetes is a disease that produces a myriad of symptoms as it progresses. However, not all of the symptoms appear in the early stages. While there are 25 million people living with diabetes in the US alone, a third of these are unaware that they have the condition.
Fortunately, there are a number of symptoms that indicate if diabetes is present. Aside from high blood sugar, excessive thirst, and excessive urination, there are symptoms that manifest in the extremities, especially in the feet. This is because diabetes disrupts proper circulation to the extremities which means that the hands and feet no longer receive adequate circulation and nutrition. This leads to tissue death and nerve damage. The following are the common signs of diabetes in feet that occur in this part of the body.
Tingling of the feet and toes and numbness
Tingling of the toes and the feet is an early signs of diabetes in feet, one of the complications of diabetes where the nerve endings deteriorate due to lack of circulation to the extremities. This is often followed by numbness and loss of sensation in the affected areas.
Gangrene is the death of the tissue due to loss of circulation. In diabetic patients, this is caused by peripheral vascular disease or poor circulation of blood to the arms and legs. Poor blood flow results in tissue death and gangrene, often seen as a darkening in color and swelling in the affected area.
Slow healing of sores and cuts on the feet
Diabetic patients often experience slow healing times for sores, cuts and even bruises on their extremities due to poor circulation. Prolonged healing time makes even the slightest cut susceptible to infection. Unfortunately, the lack of sensation on these areas means that a patient may not realize that a cut or wound is present until it has worsened into an infection.
Bone and joint pain
Lack of circulation that leads to tissue damage affects the bones and joints in the foot as well. Painful sensations on the joints of the feet can affect a person’s ability to move and walk and can be exacerbated if the person is overweight. Nerve damage can also lead to a condition called Charcot joint, a condition accompanied by a loss of sensation and swelling that often leads to joint deformity.
Without immediate medical attention, these symptoms can become full-blown complications that will require more drastic measures like surgery. Due to the nature of the symptoms of diabetes, it is important that a diabetic individual exercise proper foot care to avoid any injuries to the foot that could progress to more serious complications.