It has been reported that number of people with diabetes in Turkey has exceeded 7 million, and regular blood sugar and weight monitoring should be conducted in addition to educating patients with diabetes. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Filiz Öğçe, Head of IUE Department of Nursing, mentioned that November 14, the birthday of Frederick Grant Banting, whose research led to the discovery of insulin, was celebrated as World Diabetes Day. She said that some ten million people were expected to be diagnosed with diabetes every year, and by 2035, the number of people with diabetes was expected to be 382 million.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Öğçe stated that high level of blood sugar caused major concerns in diabetes, which resulted in neuropathy in which neurons that transmit messages from the brain to the spinal cord and vice versa, get damaged. Öğçe said that symptoms of neuropathy included numbness and tingling in the feet or hands, burning pain, and sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain. “People with diabetes often experience this. It usually affects the neurons in feet and legs. Pain is the most troubling complaint, and the most important stimulant to protect us from injuries. Since this signal system is malfunctioning in people with diabetes, any sharp objects in the shoe, such as stones, needless, or nails, or high levels of heat cause injuries frequently because the patients fail to feel these,” stated Assoc. Prof. Dr. Öğçe.
Öğçe also mentioned that diabetes caused blockages in veins thus resulting in circulatory disorders. She said that people with diabetes got skin conditions because the tissues were not properly nourished and waste materials from the body were slowly excreted. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Öğçe stated the following:
“Patients with diabetes experience a pressure increase in the soles of their feet. 75% of people with neuropathy have wider feet. Half of them experience problems even though they wear wider shoes. Anatomic deformities or wrong shoes cause calluses, which in time cause wounds in diabetic foot. Since it takes long time for wounds to heal, people often experience problems such as loss of workforce, health expenses, overstaying at hospitals, dependency on an attendant, etc. Therefore, precautionary measures as educating the patients, monitoring their blood sugar levels and weights, proper shoes that regulate foot pressure and daily care of feet are extremely important.”
Diabetic Foot Care Guidelines
· Inspect your feet daily. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Do not use sharp objects such as scissors or razors to get rid of calluses or hardened skin.
· Keep your feet clean by washing them daily with lukewarm water and soap. Dry carefully between the toes.
· Cut nails carefully. Cut them straight across after a bath when the skin is softer.
· Never walk barefoot. Not even at home, on the beach, or grassy areas! Always wear shoes or slippers.
· Avoid the wrong type of socks and shoes. Select flat or two inch heel shoes that are round and comfortable.
· Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems as they may be the warning signs of poor blood circulation, wounds, or infections. Call your doctor if you notice anything.