Diseases of the legs in diabetes mellitus
Many people who suffer from diabetes mellitus, from personal experience, had to get acquainted with such problems with the legs as impaired blood circulation, cracking, swelling, sweating of the feet, dry skin, fungal infection of the nails, etc.
In diabetes mellitus, an elevated blood glucose level causes damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the organs, and in the lower extremities as well. Vessels, as it were, are “sugared”, and any sensitivity in the legs (pain, vibration, tactile, temperature) is significantly reduced. Against this background, even the smallest foot injury can turn into a serious problem. Very often, patients notice damage too late, when the disease has already reached its climax. Any infected abrasion increases over time, which means it becomes more difficult to treat it. Then, in place of such wounds, ulcerative defects of the feet appear, osteomyelitis may develop, and, in the end, gangrene begins.
Depending on whether the nerves are more affected or the vessels, leg diseases in diabetes mellitus are divided into two types:
Ischemic ( angiopathic ) foot. With this disease, there is a predominant vascular lesion. Such a diabetic foot has the following features:
The skin on the lower leg and foot becomes cold;
The skin is painted in a pale color or marbled (variegated);
The hair on the lower leg disappears;
Pain (intermittent claudication) occurs when walking. Later stages of the disease are characterized by painful sensations and at rest;
Painful sores develop on the tips of the toes, along the edge of the foot, and on the heels.
Neuropathic foot. With this disease, there is a predominant lesion of small nerves. Signs of a neuropathic foot include:
Rise in the foot temperature – becomes warm or even hot;
Burning, stitching pains appear in the legs, mostly at night or at rest;
Decrease in tactile, temperature, pain and vibration sensitivity, which very often causes the appearance of burns, minor injuries of the skin;
Painless ulcers may appear on the foot.
Another disease of the legs in diabetes mellitus is the osteoarthropathic foot (also called Charcot’s foot). This is a type of neuropathic foot, which is characterized by the development of changes in the bone structures of the lower extremities. Often, such changes cause severe bone deformities, spontaneous fractures, and non-healing ulcers can also develop on the foot.
In order to prevent the occurrence of all of the above-mentioned foot diseases, it is necessary to carry out proper foot care for diabetes. For this, patients with such a diagnosis are advised to wear special diabetic socks ( Loana , Dialine ).