How can it affect my feet?Over a long period of time high blood glucose levels can cause damage to different areas of your body and this includes your feet and legs.
High blood glucose levels can cause damage to the nerve systems in your body, which stops important messages getting to and from your brain. The nerves in your body that are most likely to be affected are the longest ones – those that have to reach all the way to your feet and legs. Damage to your nerves is the thing most likely to affect your feet if you have diabetes.
Nerve damage is also sometimes called neuropathy. When it affects your feet it can lead to the following:Damage to sensory nerves, which means that you start to lose sensation in your feet and are less able to feel pain, temperatures and vibrations
Damage to motor nerves, which can affect the muscles in your feet causing toe joints and bones to change shape
Damage to autonomic nerves which can reduce the amount of sweat that your feet produce, which will make your skin very dry.
The other important reason why some people with diabetes develop foot problems is because high blood glucose levels can also damage your blood vessels. This can affect the blood supply (circulation) to your feet and legs and may mean that less blood gets to your skin, muscles and tissues.
Many people with diabetes believe that foot problems are caused by a poor blood supply, and therefore they think that if their feet are warm and pink then they are healthy. In fact foot problems are often caused as a result of damage to the nerves that supply your feet and legs. Because nerve damage often shows itself gradually you may not know that you are at risk of foot problems. So, even if your feet look healthy, it’s important to check them regularly and to make sure your nerves are tested at your annual diabetes review.