Examining your feet is a bit like brushing your teeth. Some of us are lazy. We don’t brush our teeth as often as we should. Consequently from time to time we hear horror stories about people who suffer with diabetes and who simply don’t have a regime for their feet.
Ulcers and other foot problems can lead in the worst cases to amputation (if you have diabetes) and thus it is of utmost importance that you examine your feet on a regular basis. Foot ulcers can affect as many as 10% of those who suffer with diabetes. It can be traumatic and nasty, yet much of this should be avoided with a little bit of foot health. Men are worse than women it seems when it comes to looking after their own condition. Women get their hair done regularly. Indeed some will starve and pay for a hair-do rather than miss an appointment. Men on the other hand – just don’t seem to bother, leaving it to the last minute when their hair has grown out of control. The same applies to foot care.
Diabetes & Foot Care – Why Risk Amputation?
The figures that we read suggest that world-wide there are more than 250 million people who suffer with diabetes. In China the rates of diabetes 20 or so years ago were almost zero. Now we understand that there are more than 25 million diabetics in that country. In all it is an epidemic.
Diabetes is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism characterised by fasting elevations of blood sugar (glucose) levels and a greatly increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and loss of nerve function. The classic symptoms are frequent urination, excessive thirst, and excessive appetite, yet because these symptoms are not serious, many people who have diabetes do not seek medical care. Much of this is a result of our sedentary lifestyle and obesity. The balanced diet – a hamburger in each hand – what a thought!!
1. Diabetic neuropathies (loss of peripheral nerve function, tingling sensations, numbness), are amongst the most frequent complications of long-term diabetes. An example of this that we know of is a woman who came home to find a trail of blood across her kitchen floor. Her husband (who did not know that he was diabetic) had cut his foot on a piece of glass and was blissfully unaware that he had injured himself. There are many more examples, but suffice to say that there is sufficient evidence to convince people who are diabetic that they should take particular care with their feet and in the process try to ensure that there are no little nooks and crannies where bacteria can gain a foothold. Daily use of our Foot Effect lotion kills the bacteria that prevent wounds from healing (and other bacteria) and in all helps keep feet healthy and happy.
2. The treatment of diabetes requires nutritional supplementation, as diabetics have a greatly increased need for many nutrients. While the transport of vitamin C into cells is facilitated by insulin, many diabetics do not have enough intracellular vitamin C. This vitamin is something that we have written about often. An example is the Swedish American scientist Linus Pauling who came to Dumbarton (Scotland) in 1970 where he carried out a small-scale study at the Vale of Leven hospital in Dumbarton. In his study with the cancer patients at the hospital he was able to demonstrate how an increased intake of vitamin C was not a miraculous cure for cancer, but it went a long way towards extending the life of a cancer patient, while ensuring that the remaining years were comfortable, contented, useful, productive and satisfying.
In our family we take a vitamin C supplement every day. It has many uses, not least the supplementation that diabetic sufferers should consider. 1000mg is the normal daily dose suggested (although Pauling and other studies suggest that 2000mg to be more appropriate). Most chemists’ shops will have a dissolving fizzy tablet form of this available for sale. We find this best as in liquid form it is more readily absorbed by the body.
The bacterium that prevents wounds from healing is known as Acinetobacter baumannii. It was one of the bacteria that we tested against in our study at Aberdeen University, with all of the bacterial isolates tested being obtained from patients with hospital acquired infections. The results of the test are that our natural formula is highly effective at killing different bacterial isolates, which included Acinetobacter baumannii, this being the bacteria that prevents wounds from healing. The result of this work has allowed us to launch our Foot Effect lotion. The product is for daily use with the minimum recommended application being morning and evening. Anyone who uses it should find it to be both curative and preventative, allowing ulcerated wounds to heal, naturally. Part of our family of natural products, we hope that that it helps diabetes sufferers to live a happier, longer and stress-free life and importantly by reducing the risk of amputation (as a result of any ulcerated wound under the foot or on the tips of the toes where they are most likely to be found). Regular visits to a chiropodist are of course essential in daily / weekly / monthly foot-care and are to be advised.
Help & Prevent
There is a ground-swell of opinion these days that suggests that diabetes is reversible. To achieve this status dietary modification is fundamental. There are many on-line sites where this information can be gained and if any reader has a particular interest we will be pleased to provide a link to where this type of information can be found. The basic principles are:
- Eliminate from your Diet:
Sugar (especially in liquid form – in surgery drinks)
Alcohol (another form of sugar)
Processed food (simple processed and concentrated carbohydrates)
- Drink Water:
Six to eight glasses per day (filtered is best)
- Eat Healthy:
Plenty of dark green leafy vegetables
Legumes – beans of all varieties
Oily fish – herring, mackerel, sardines, wild salmon
Flax seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts
High fibre foods
Onions and garlic
- Eat Slowly:
Chew your food
Sit down when you eat
Both help to aid your digestion
- Calm your jets:
Use the breathing exercise described in our Hypertension article
40 minutes of brisk walking at least four times weekly, or at least as much as you are able.
- Take a supplement:
Vitamin C (as above) – vital for wound repair, healthy gums, and the prevention of excessive bruising. (Please speak with your GP about supplementation).
- Care for your feet:
Daily washing will soothe and clean your feet back to optimum health.
Image credits: Hanna Zabielska, Karen Barefoot.