When diabetes is poorly controlled, it affects several of the human body’s most vital systems. Diabetes can cause significant damage to the circulatory system and nervous system. Typically, poorly controlled diabetes first affects the body’s smallest structures like the blood vessels in your nerves, feet and heart.
Generally speaking, diabetes affects the body’s vascular system from the inside by creating blockages and hardening blood vessel linings. The nervous system, on the other hand, is affected from the outside in. As sugar byproducts accumulate, the lining of nerves can degrade. This often results in the development of peripheral vascular disease and/or peripheral neuropathy.
These risks are the reason that primary care doctors want every patient with diabetes to establish a relationship with a foot and ankle specialist. At Kipferl Foot & Ankle, our foot and ankle specialists will perform routine evaluation of your feet anywhere from one to four times per year, depending on your particular set of risk factors. The goal of these evaluations is to prevent problems before they arise and help our patients avoid complications. During these exams, we carefully assess the health of blood flow and the nerves in your feet. By ensuring that any areas of pressure are appropriately addressed, we can prevent a variety of diabetes-related complications including foot ulcers and infections that could require hospitalization or surgery.
Because diabetes affects many of the body’s systems, it is important for each patient to create a care team of specialists. It is equally important for these specialists to establish lines of communication to help streamline care coordination and make it easier for the patient to manage diabetes and prevent complications. In the Diabetic Care Plan section, we explain more about what that care team should look like and how Kipferl Foot & Ankle can help you build the right team to coordinate your care.