Diabetes affects up to 5% of the population in the US, almost 14 million people. Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a disorder caused by decreased production of insulin, or by the body’s decreased ability to use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is necessary for cells to be able to use sugar.
The cause of diabetes mellitus is unknown, but heredity and diet are believed to play a role in its development. Diabetes results when the pancreas produces insufficient amounts of insulin to meet the body needs. It can also result when the pancreas produces insulin, but the cells are unable to efficiently use it (insulin resistance). Insulin is necessary for blood sugar (glucose) to go from the blood to the inside of the cells, and unless the sugar gets into the cells, the body cannot use it. The excessive sugar remains in the blood and is then removed by the kidneys. Symptoms of excessive thirst, frequent urination, and hunger develop. The metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is altered in people with diabetes.
Diabetes occurs in several forms. The most common types are: Type I, or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, and, Type II, or noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Gestational diabetes mellitus is usually a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy.
Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (Type I) usually occurs in people before the age of 30, who must then receive insulin injections. Risk factors for Type I diabetes include autoimmune disease, viral infections, and a family history of diabetes.
Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (Type II) usually occurs in severely overweight (obese) adults and rarely requires insulin treatment. Treatment includes diet, exercise and, if necessary oral medication. Risk factors for Type II diabetes are obesity, physiological or emotional stress, pregnancy, certain medications, age over 40, and family history.
Gestational diabetes starts or is first recognized during pregnancy. It usually becomes apparent during the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy. In many cases, the blood glucose level returns to normal after delivery. Risk factors for gestational diabetes are maternal age over 25 years, family history of diabetes, obesity, birth weight over 9 pounds in a previous infant, unexplained death in a previous infant or newborn, congenital malformation in a previous child.
There may be no symptoms early in the course of diabetes. However, as the disease progresses, early symptoms include; increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss in spite of increased appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin, blurred vision, impotence in men, breath odor, cessation of menses, gums, bleeding, ear noise/buzzing, diarrhea, depression, and confusion. If left untreated, diabetes can result in more severe complications over time, such as renal (kidney) disease, impaired vision, and circulation problems. Fortunately, techniques are available to effectively manage the disease and avoid these complications. The keys to effective diabetes management are patient commitment, along with the proper tools and knowledge.
Foot Care Tips from the American Diabetes Association:
- Look and touch your feet every day
- Keep your feet clean and dry
- Cut or file toenails to the shape of the toe, smoothing all sharp edges
- Moisturize dry skin with a lotion (Careway carries ELTA lotions and creams, which are excellent for this purpose)
- Avoid injury to the feet
- Have corns, calluses or ingrown toenails treated by a professional
- Wear well-fitting, soft leather or fabric shoes (read “Foot Care for Diabetics” which follows, to understand how special Therapeutic Shoes for diabetics are available through Medicare or other insurance carriers)
- Check shoes for cracks, pebbles, or other things that might damage your feet
- Get your blood glucose under control
- Wear well fitted socks, without a thick toe seam, made of material that wicks moisture away from skin
Socks for Diabetics:
Careway offers the most popular and number one physician recommended socks for diabetics. They are known as the SensiFoot Diabetic Sock™. The SensiFoot diabetic sock is designed to provide the everyday comfort and protection required by people with diabetes. The socks are vastly different than other socks on the market because they are designed to provide not only comfort, but more importantly, protection for sensitive feet, especially for people with diabetes. SensiFoot™ socks use acrylic multi-fiber blend to offer greater protection by wicking moisture away from the skin. Cotton fibers retain foot perspiration, which could soften the skin, making it more susceptible to blisters caused by friction. In fact, the cotton fibers retain three times the moisture of acrylic. The wicking ability of acrylic fibers is important for people with diabetes because it keeps feet comfortable and dry. In addition, SensiFoot™ socks have an antibacterial, antifungal finish, which inhibits growth of bacteria and fungi on the sock to help prevent odor.
The most important feature of SensiFoot socks is their construction. They are constructed with extra padding, a non-irritating toe seam, and multi-fiber yarns. For those who are under the impression that seamless socks are preferred for people with diabetes,, it should be pointed out that there is no such thing as a “seamless” sock. All socks are tubes that must be closed at the end. SensiFoot™ socks are knit on special machines designed specifically to produce a non-irritating, flat, smooth toe seam.
SensiFoot™ socks offer a mild compression which simply helps keep the sock in place to prevent sliding. The mild compression is not contraindicated for diabetics even if the patient has small vessels (arterial) disease.
Careway carries all of Jobst® SensiFoot™ socks styles; Knee, Crew, and Mini-Crew.