If you’re a type 2 diabetic, either for many years or recently diagnosed, I want you to look at your feet:
What do you see? Hopefully they look “okay”. Sometime in the future, however, they will begin to change in appearance – it’s inevitable. The color will change; they might feel cool or cold; the skin will appear dry and flaky; at some point, redness may develop, which may be followed by a darkening of the toes.
This is the first sign of gangrene. Blood spots may appear as the skin begins to break down. This is the first sign of a small, innocuous wound or ulcer. Untreated, the wounds will get bigger – a potential amputation may eventually be necessary. You may not even feel the wound. The loss of feeling and poor circulation are signs of Diabetic neuropathy.
Scary, right? However, there is a way to preserve blood flow: locally applied near-infrared light therapy can release nitric oxide from red cells; nitric oxide is the body’s vasodilator, but high blood sugar destroys nitric oxide. So, when you are told to reduce A1c, there’s a very good reason!
At the first signs of skin breakdown or loss of feeling, you should tell your doctor. Remember: it’s your feet – this is why I want you to LOOK AT YOUR FEET right now, and then every week from now on. Once a surgeon has to amputate, there is no turning back.