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Foot Ulcers Can Lead to Serious Consequences
People with diabetes are prone to foot ulcers, which are open wounds or sores usually found on the soles.
“People with diabetes have elevated blood sugar levels. Over time, this can lead to a progressive loss of blood supply to the feet, which damages tissues and nerves, causing loss of sensation,” says James Myung Kyu Han, DPM, a podiatrist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Left untreated, these blood-starved tissues and nerves can die and cause a host of problems, including foot ulcers.”
Tissue death combined with foot trauma can cause foot ulceration, which is probably the most common reason adult diabetic patients go to the hospital. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, can also hinder circulation and keep sores from healing.
Dr. Han urges quick treatment before infection sets in and more serious medical consequences develop.
“Grossly infected tissue can lead to gangrene – the most dreaded complication,” he warns. “Amputation can sometimes become necessary to prevent the infection from spreading.”
Dr. Han recommends preventive measures that include foot exams, diligent blood sugar management, and wearing the appropriate shoes and socks.
“All adults with diabetes should make it a point to see a qualified podiatrist on a regular basis,” concludes Dr. Han.