Diabetic Ulcers: Why They Happen & How You Can Prevent Them

by Dr. Jonathan D'Souza

The American Podiatric Medical Association says that around 15 percent of people with diabetes develop a diabetic sore or foot ulcer at some point of their lives. Since they mostly occur on the feet, they are known as diabetic foot ulcers.

Diabetic foot ulcers are mostly caused by poor blood circulation due to the improper or slow functioning of the veins, a condition known as venous stasis.[1] If left untreated, they can lead to serious infections which might result in an amputation of the afflicted foot or toe. This is why people having diabetes should pay extra attention and care to avoid these complications.

The Cause Of Diabetic Foot Ulcers
When a person has high blood sugar levels for a prolonged period of time, it weakens the heart and the blood vessels, disrupting the circulation of blood in the feet and legs. This makes the skin on the feet and legs weak and susceptible to injury.

Elevated blood sugar levels can also damage the nerves causing a loss of sensation. This can be dangerous for a person with diabetes who injures his foot, but is not able to feel the pain and the wound would be left unattended. This leads to open wounds or diabetic ulcers.

The Risk Factors
Alcohol abuse, tobacco abuse, obesity, kidney disease and heart disease are a few factors that increase the risk of these ulcers. Even poo-fitting shoes can cause blisters in the feet that can worsen quickly. Since high levels of blood sugar can suppress the immune system, the ulcers can quickly develop an infection.

How You Can Prevent Them
It is important that a person with diabetes regularly checks his feet every day to check for new or developing ulcers. Early detection followed by daily care can ensure quick healing and avoid complications.

Washing and moisturizing the feet daily, changing socks regularly, wearing comfortable shoes, letting your feet breathe, changing the bandages often and using products that cleanse the skin and deter fungal, and bacterial growth are some excellent preventive measure.

Natural Remedies For Diabetic Ulcers

  • The use of natural, raw organic honey, when applied twice daily on the ulcer, can promote quick healing. Researchers have found that dressings and bandages soaked in natural honey keep wounds clean, speed healing, and could even help to avoid amputations. Here’s how you can use honey to treat your diabetic foot ulcer. [2]
  • Massaging the skin with olive oil every day can improve skin elasticity and speed up the healing of the skin.[3]

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Diseases & Conditions here.

Read More:
Health Quiz: Are You At Risk Of Diabetes?
Relieve It With A Herb: Cranberries For Diabetes

References:
1. American Podiatric Medical Association. Diabetic Wound Care. American Podiatric Medical Association. Site: http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=981 (Last accessed on 13 September 2015).

2. Makhdoom A, Khan MS, Lagahari MA, Rahopoto MQ, Tahir SM, Siddiqui KA. Management of diabetic foot by natural honey. J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. 2009 Jan-Mar;21(1):103-5. PubMed PMID: 20364754.

3. Nasiri M, Fayazi S, Jahani S, Yazdanpanah L, Haghighizadeh MH. The effect of topical olive oil on the healing of foot ulcer in patients with type 2 diabetes: a double-blind randomized clinical trial study in Iran. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2015 Apr 29;14:38. doi: 10.1186/s40200-015-0167-9. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 25969821; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4428202.

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