The Problems Diabetes Can Cause to the Lower Extremity

By Patrick Banks

Posted 3 months agoHEALTH

Diabetes is rarely a standalone illness. It comes with a range of other problematic side effects that make the life of the victim difficult. 

One of the challenges it presents is discomfort in your lower extremities. Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk of nerve damage. This nerve damage will complicate the flow of blood to your legs and feet. When this happens, you’re likely to develop severe issues such as diabetes leg cramps.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the different ways in which diabetes affects one’s lower extremities.

Effects of Diabetes on the Legs and Feet

Here are a few risks that diabetes poses to your lower extremities: 

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a common defect found in 20% of diabetic patients all across the world. It’s a common consequence of diabetes that causes your arteries to become narrowed. 

Without enough space, the blood flow to your legs will become limited. There would be some sort of traffic jam in your veins. All the vital oxygen and nutrients that your legs need will build up in a spot and cause you intense pain when you walk.

You can manage this condition by engaging in an active lifestyle. A good diet can also help you manage this vascular challenge.

Foot Ulcer

Foot ulcers are a serious concern for those with diabetes. The ulcer often results from a combination of neuropathy and poor blood circulation. When you have diabetes, all your small injuries are likely to become major issues. Shockingly, 15% of people with diabetes face a lifetime risk of developing foot ulcers.

Since there is minimal sensation in the feet, you may not be able to easily detect minor injuries before they spiral out of control. Also, poor blood circulation will not allow your feet to heal efficiently.

If you suffer from this, you can curb its effects by getting foot inspections, wearing the right footwear, and getting regular foot massages.

Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy happens like a glitch in communication between your legs and your brain. This happens when your body’s high glucose levels damage your nerves. The damage can happen to nerve fibers all over the body, but it mostly focuses on the legs and feet.

When the messaging is disrupted, a painful sensation, tingling, and numbness become your companions.

The pain typically starts with the toes and feet and then spreads to other parts of the body.

Once the doctor diagnoses you with peripheral neuropathy, you can manage the situation with regular foot checks and a diabetes-friendly diet.

Leg Cramps

Cramps are a discomforting companion for 30% of people with diabetes. It’s usually worse at night, and the pain will often keep you up for many hours.

The exact cause of these cramps is not exactly known. Although health experts suspect blood sugar levels and nerve damage to be the culprits.

You can gain relief from leg cramps by ensuring that your blood sugar levels are stable at all times. Ask a dietician to whip up a meal plan that keeps your sugar levels in the safe zone. Also, try out some gentle stretching exercises before you go to bed. This will reduce your chances of insomnia.

Infection

Diabetes can compromise the immune system, making the feet particularly vulnerable to infections. One in four individuals with diabetes will experience a foot-related issue. With diabetes in your system, your minor injuries no longer heal on their own.

And, because your wounds stay open for prolonged periods, they are likely to become infected over time. Here’s how to keep your feet from getting infected:

● Give immediate attention to minor cuts and blisters

● Wear comfortable shoes 

● Keep your feet clean and dry at all times 

● Get your feet checked regularly

Wrapping Up

Regular inspection by medical personnel is the best way to ensure that your lower extremities do not suffer any of the risks that come with diabetes. These doctors can also recommend the best alternative treatment to keep your legs safe and healthy.

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.