Diabetic foot: what is it, the main signs

Diabetes mellitus is one of the most dangerous diseases, giving several complications. One of them is diabetic foot syndrome. It is manifested by a violation of sensitivity, ulcerative skin lesions that do not heal for a long time, as well as problems with blood supply to the lower limb. Treatment is most often carried out in an inpatient setting, but if the patient applies as early as possible, outpatient treatment is also possible.

What is diabetic foot syndrome?

This concept refers to the syndrome of soft tissue damage in the foot area. It is a complication observed in people with diabetes mellitus. The syndrome is dangerous to health and can even lead to death, as it threatens amputation of the leg and blood poisoning.

There are several types of diabetic foot:

Neuropathic – accompanied by symptoms such as loss or impaired sensitivity, dryness and cracking of the skin, flat feet, redness of the skin, a slight increase in temperature in these areas.

Ischemic – the syndrome is associated with a deterioration of blood flow in the tissues of the foot. The main symptoms are severe swelling, paleness of the skin, severe pain when walking and in direct contact with ulcers.

Mixed – both nerve endings and blood vessels are affected. The pain is mild, often patients tolerate them and go to the hospital too late. Necrotic lesions can become too large, and part of the limb has to be amputated.

What is diabetic foot syndrome

Diabetic foot: symptoms

At the initial stage, this symptom practically does not manifest itself in any way – there are no painful sensations and other characteristic symptoms. At first, sensitivity is partially lost, for example, a person does not feel the vibration of the surface. After that, the feeling of temperature fluctuations and pain is lost. At the last stage, a complete loss occurs – the foot does not even feel touching it.

The characteristic symptoms of the disease are:

  • pronounced swelling of the legs;
  • the foot becomes too cold or, conversely, hot;
  • pain in the shins, especially pronounced at rest or after a long walk;
  • unusual sensations – tingling, cold, burning;
  • hair loss on the skin of the legs;
  • cyanotic spots under the nail, signs of fungal infection;
  • prolonged healing of wounds, after which dark spots remain on the skin.

At the same time, the main symptom of a diabetic foot is the formation of ulcers in the foot area. They are deep, well-defined. Around such formations, the skin is usually dry, thinned. Often wounds fester, and healing takes a very long time.

Patients with diabetes mellitus are recommended to examine their feet weekly, turning the leg towards themselves. In order for the inspection to be thorough, it is necessary to turn on the light and put a mirror. If any changes are found on the skin, even if they are not too significant, it is recommended to consult a doctor immediately.

Who is at risk

Patients with diagnosed type II diabetes are most at risk, since tissue damage occurs quickly in them, and in patients with type I – only after 6 years. Also at risk are people with such disorders:

  • conditions after a heart attack or stroke;
  • tendency to thrombosis;
  • high degree of obesity (III, IV);
  • constant spikes in sugar levels;
  • alcohol and smoking abusers.

Diagnosis of the disease

For diagnosis, it is necessary to contact a local therapist or a podiatric specialist who treats leg diseases. If it is not available, you can also visit a surgeon or an endocrinologist.

The doctor performs a visual examination, examines complaints and prescribes a number of tests:

  • urine (general);
  • blood (different types, including biochemical and general);
  • x-ray of the feet;
  • referral to a neurologist to study sensitivity, reflexes;
  • dopplerometry;
  • microbiological analysis of wounds on the foot.

If it is not known whether a person suffers from diabetes mellitus or not, he is referred to an endocrinologist, a blood glucose test is performed. In some cases, it may also be necessary to consult specialists such as an ophthalmologist and a surgeon.

Modern methods of treatment: where to buy medicines

Diabetic foot treatment most often takes place in a hospital setting, because patients turn to a specialist too late when the tissue lesion is already large enough. First, doctors treat the affected area and remove the necrotic area. After that, antibacterial therapy is indicated, a course of treatment for diabetes mellitus and elimination of problems with blood flow is prescribed.

Diagnosis of the disease

Different groups of drugs are used for treatment, for example:

  • antispasmodics;
  • immunostimulators;
  • metabolic stimulants;
  • disaggregants;
  • antioxidants;
  • antibiotics and others.

During the treatment period, it is indicated to unload the leg, not lean on it when moving, reduce walking and other types of activity. To prevent cases of infection, immobilizing bandages are applied to ulcers. If the treatment does not bring results, and the necrotic process goes deep into the tissue, amputation may be prescribed.

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