Most non-diabetics don’t appreciate how much work is needed to monitor, treat, and maintain diabetes. From lancing, smearing, logging and tracking blood-sugars multiple times a day, to watching what you eat and counting carbs, getting enough exercise, A1C testing and ongoing reviews with doctors, GPs, specialists, diabetic educators- it’s almost enough to drive a person to crazy! It’s especially not helpful given the connection between stress and higher blood glucose levels in people with either type of diabetes.1
But did you know that there is one simple thing that you can do to make living with diabetes easier AND take of yourself: Look after your feet.
How serious is it? Diabetic feet are prone to developing a series of very serious conditions and it all starts with the seemingly benign 'dry-skin'. The skin on the feet becomes dry, chapped, and then cracks. Once this happens infection and fungi have a highway into your body. From there lesions that are critically hard to treat can develop and if left untreated, may necessitate amputation of the limb.
I know that when most of us hear the word ‘amputation’ we think “it won’t happen to me”. The frightening reality, however, is that with a diagnosis of diabetes comes a 15-fold increase in the risk of lower limb amputation – toe, foot, or leg. Every year over 4,400 diabetes-related amputations are carried out in Australian hospitals2.
And even if it doesn’t get that bad, between 20 - 25 % of diabetics will still consult a doctor at least once in their lifetime for a foot lesion - which is responsible for 25% of all hospital days for diabetics. The numbers are in and the results are clear: if you have diabetes you need to be looking after those things you walk around on every day.
Luckily there are things you can do for your feet. There are creams (like DIA-BALM) for the treatment and prevention of dry cracking skin, and there are solutions like socks and medical devices to keep your skin healthy. So what can you do?
1. Eye-tests: have a check-up
No, the other kind of eye test. One of the common symptoms of diabetes is neurological impairment – a lack of feeling in the hands and feet. This means that you could develop cracks, small cuts, or blisters, and might not be able to feel them.
Get into the habit of simply checking your feet every day when you wake up, and when you go to bed at night, so that you can be sure that everything is fine and healthy.
Remember, you can’t fix something you don’t know about!
2. DIA-BALM: for Treatment, Prevention & Maintenance
If you do find dry or cracked skin when are doing a foot check don’t panic! It’s probably a good idea to schedule a meeting with your GP or diabetic nurse for safety, but you should definitely head to your local chemist or jump online to treat yourself in the meantime- and you can treat yourself to 20% off! Just use discount code DIABALM18 when you check-out.
As serious as foot issues are for diabetic feet, there are over-the-counter solutions that you can use for dry or cracked skin. Our recommendation is DIA-BALM; THE Specialist Diabetic Foot Care Cream. Australian made and owned, DIA-BALM was designed by LaCorium Health specifically for the treatment and prevention of dry, cracking skin so commonly seen by diabetics. It is scientifically proven and so easy to use.
DIA-BALM dissolves dry dead skin while helping healthy skin maintain hydration, making it more flexible and better able to keep out infections. DIA-BALM can also be used to prevent the development of dry, cracked skin as well as maintain healthy skin, so don’t hesitate to head to your local chemist or look online to keep your skin nice and healthy.
3. Good socks: what your feet are missing out on
The socks you wear can have a BIG impact on your feet- do they rub your skin? Do they stay wet or damp? Are the tops restrictive and do they cut in? All three of these factors can lead to small, but serious, open cuts or sores that are ripe for a secondary infection. Ideally, you should choose socks that do none of the above, but socks can also actively help your feet
Today there is a whole industry dedicated to ‘smart hosiery’ and diabetic support is no different. A quick google will give you a number of options that have extra cushioning or no seams, but other designs can do so much more.
Glucology Diabetic Copper Socks, for example, have copper woven into the material utilising an awesome Australian-patented technology. These socks are so efficacious that they have been approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association as a Class I Medical Device! They kill 99.9% of bacteria and fungi that cause odour, are hypoallergenic, actively draw water away from the skin and actually improve the appearance of skin.
So make sure your socks are taking proper care of your feet- and ask if they can do more!
If you have any comments on the products mentioned, or any other diabetic support devices we'd love to hear about them- you can leave your comments below or send us a message- The IBD Team