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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can diabetes affect someone's feet?

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    Eric Rosario

    Exercise Physiologist

    Master of Applied Science by Research into the Effects of Strength Training on Postmenopausal women. I have been involved in strength training for 67 years … View Profile

    Diabetes and Foot Problems
    Diabetes can cause Peripheral Neuropathy (Damage to the nerves in the extremities) and or Peripheral Vascular Disease.  The former is termed “Sensory Neuropathy” where the extremities lose sensation. The latter reduces the flow of blood to the extremities.
    Reduced blood flow to the extremities can cause numbness, cold feet and pins and needles. It can also be posited that lack of blood flow can damage the nerves.
    Since insulin is the “key” which opens the door for the cells of the body to receive nutrition, Insulin Resistance starves the cells in two ways, reduced blood flow to the extremities (feet and hands) and reduced absorption of nutrition from the blood.
    Reduced blood flow, especially in the feet, can promote ulcers and the lack of sensation can leave it unattended because the pain signal has not been flagged. It is therefore advisable to examine the feet regularly for ulcers and even cuts and bruises.
    It is therefore important to exercise the extremities to increase the blood flow to these areas and also to manage the Diabetes to increase insulin sensitivity.

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