Diabetes mellitus, popularly called Diabetes, is a metabolic disease caused due to high blood sugar or blood glucose. The hormone called insulin moves the sugar into your cells from the blood for storage or to use as energy. However, with diabetes mellitus, your body is unable to produce sufficient insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin.
So, having too much sugar in your blood can lead to some serious complications, including foot problems usually called a diabetic foot. Diabetic people are more likely to affect various foot problems due to high blood sugar levels for a long time. Diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease are the two major problems with the diabetic foot which can lead to serious complications.
Diabetes is accountable for nearly 50% amputations of foot & other parts around the world.
Diabetic Neuropathy: Uncontrolled diabetes may possibly damage your nerves. If the nerves in your legs and feet are damaged, you might lose your senses of feeling the heat, cold, or pain there, often called “sensory diabetic neuropathy.” The foot muscles might also stop working properly.
Peripheral Vascular Disease: Poor blood flow in your arms and legs
Diabetes can also impair your blood flow. Inadequate blood flow causes longer healing of injuries. If you have had any infection, it might not heal due to poor blood flow, then you are prone to develop ulcers or gangrene (the dead tissue because of poor blood flow).
The Most Common Foot Problems With Diabetes
Anyone with diabetes can get below foot problems. However, serious foot problems can cause infection and lead to serious complications like amputation.
Treatment For Diabetic Foot complications
The blood circulation around your body gets reduced if your arteries become narrow or blocked. This can result in muscle pain, dizziness and damage of tissue due to lack of blood and oxygen.
Angioplasty & Stenting: Angioplasty proved to be one of the safest treatments for many diabetic patients. Experts say that angioplasty can restore the flow of blood in the legs even in advanced diabetes patients. This prevents amputation of the parts and also reduces the mortality rate. Around 25% of people with diabetes are at lifetime risk of growing a foot ulcer. Around 85% of non-healing diabetic foot ulcers lead to diabetes-related limb amputations.
Angioplasty or stenting are the procedures used to retrieve the blood flow treating the narrowed or blocked artery. In this procedure, a balloon is used to stretch the artery (angioplasty) or metal scaffold called a stent is used to hold the blocked artery open. These procedures finally improve your blood flow.
The procedure is done in the Vascular X-ray unit by an interventional radiologist under local anaesthesia. In this procedure, the radiologist makes a small incision in the groin area and a small tube is inserted into the artery. In some cases, the artery in the elbow is used instead of the groin artery. Now an X-ray dye (contrast) is injected and a series of pictures of the arteries are taken. Under the guidance of x-ray imaging technique, a fine wire and tube are sent into the artery to reach the narrowed or blocked area of the artery.
The special tube is attached with a balloon at the end and sent across the blocked artery. Once the balloon reaches the blockage, the balloon is inflated and the artery is stretched. Once the blockage clears, the balloon is deflated and removed gently out of the artery.
The radiologist places a stent once the blockage is cleared if the radiologist finds the artery wall is too weak. In some cases, the angioplasty fails and the blockage reappears. So to improve the blood flow, a stent is placed in the blocked artery. The stent is placed permanently and can’t be removed. Eventually, the stent is covered by the artery lining.
Treating an ulcerated or deformed foot with poor blood circulation is quite challenging. It takes more time to make things right. The best thing is to prevent the condition by diagnosing and treating it as early as possible. If you are suffering from any diabetic foot problems consult Dr Pradyumna Reddy, one of the best interventional radiologists in Hyderabad. He has more than ten years of experience in treating diabetic food conditions.