This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be 'devastating' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes is the direct result of impaired insulin production. When insulin is not processed properly, blood sugar levels run amok in the body. Consistently high blood sugar levels can cause a host of problems in the body, many of which are associated with nerve damage.
When high blood sugar levels damage the nerves in the body’s extremities, such as the hands, feet and arms, it is known as peripheral neuropathy.
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, there are five sensations in the feet that can signal blood sugar damage to the nerves.
- Numbness or tingling
- Prickly pain
- Sharp pain
- Burning feet.
How to prevent diabetic foot problems
Checking your feet is an important way to reduce the chances of developing a serious foot problem.
“It’s important that those of us with diabetes regularly check our feet as nerve damage and reduced circulation, caused by diabetes, can mean having reduced awareness of pain (neuropathy) and slower healing,” explains Diabetes.co.uk.
As the health body points out, checking feet daily means that any signs of damage can be addressed at the earliest stage and therefore before a problem poses any serious risk to health.
“If you are unable to fully check your feet, arrange for someone to help you check your feet.”
According to the NHS, you should seek treatment from your GP or podiatrist if blisters or injuries don’t heal quickly.
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You should see your doctor urgently if:
- You notice breaks in the skin of your foot, or discharge seeping from the wound
- The skin over part or all of the foot changes colour and becomes more red, blue, pale or dark
- You notice extra swelling in your feet where there was a blister or injury
- There is redness or swelling around an ulcer or in an area where you have previously been warned to seek immediate attention.
If you have diabetes, it’s also important to try to stop smoking.
The NHS explains: “Smoking impairs blood circulation, particularly in people with diabetes. It can seriously worsen foot and leg problems.”
In the long-run, it is imperative to bring blood sugar levels under control.
You can lower high blood sugar levels by improving your diet and engaging in regular exercise.
In regards to the former, there is technically nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you have to limit your intake of certain foods.
That’s because particular items can have a pronounced impact on blood sugar levels, the worst culprits being carbohydrates.
Carbs are broken down into blood sugar faster than fat or protein. The faster a food is broken down, the more marked the impact on blood sugar levels.
To help you steer clear of the worst carbs for blood sugar control, you should refer to the glycaemic index (GI).
The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Carbohydrate foods that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.
High GI foods include:
- Sugar and sugary foods
- Sugary soft drinks
- White bread
- White rice.
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