The Diabetic’s Integumentary System Discussion
Diabetes is a condition in which there is too much glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage the body’s organs. Possible long-term effects include damage to large (macrovascular) and small (microvascular) blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and problems with the kidneys, eyes, gums, feet and nerves.
Diabetes can affect your skin, the largest organ of your body. Along with dehydration, your body’s lack of moisture due to high blood sugar can cause the skin on your feet to dry and crack. The feet of someone with diabetes are at risk of damage when the blood supply in both large and small blood vessels is reduced. Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) often results and problems to the structure of the foot can also occur – for example, clawed toes.
Diabetes affects wound healing due to circulation slows down, blood moves more slowly, which makes it more difficult to deliver nutrients to wounds. As a result, the injuries heal slowly or may not heal at all. High-pressure spots under your foot can lead to calluses. These can become infected or develop ulcers. You may also be more prone to boils, folliculitis (infection of the hair follicles), sties, and infected nails.
Unmanaged diabetes can also lead to three skin conditions:
· eruptive xanthomatosis, which causes hard yellow bumps with a red ring
· digital sclerosis, which causes thick skin, most often on the hands or feet
· diabetic dermopathy, which can cause brown patches on the skin
Blood sugar is an often-underestimated component of your health. When out of whack over a long period of time, it could develop into diabetes. Diabetes affects your body’s ability to produce or use insulin, a hormone that allows your body to turn glucose (sugar) into energy.
Diabetes can be effectively managed when caught early. However, when left untreated, it can lead to potential complications that include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and nerve damage. General symptoms of diabetes include, excessive thirst and hunger, frequent urination, drowsiness or fatigue, dry, itchy skin, blurry vision and slow healing of wound. It’s often a case of nerve damage and poor circulation, made worse by increased blood sugar.
People living with diabetes have an increased risk of lower limb amputation. Wounds or ulcers that do not heal are the most common cause of amputation among people with this condition. Other factors, such as high blood sugar levels and smoking, can increase the risk of foot-related complications including amputation.
There are several reasons for having high incidence of leg and toe amputation in diabetics as follow:
· Poor blood flow to the limb
· Infections that do not go away or become worse and cannot be controlled or healed
· Tumors of the lower limb
· Severe burns or severe frostbite
· Wounds that will not heal
· Loss of function to the limb
· Loss of sensation to the limb, making it vulnerable to injury
Changing your lifestyle could be a big step toward diabetes prevention and measurements it’s never too late to start. Losing weight reduces the risk of diabetes, being active, and get plenty of fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.
· Make a commitment to managing your diabetes. Members of your diabetes care team — doctor or primary care provider, and diabetes nurse educator.
· Don’t smoke. Talk to your doctor about ways to help you stop smoking or using other types of tobacco.
· Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
· Keep your vaccines up to date. Diabetes makes it more likely you’ll get certain illnesses. Routine vaccines can help prevent them.
Complications of diabetes generally develop over time. However, when left untreated, it can lead to potential complications that include heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and nerve damage. Having poorly controlled blood sugar levels increases the risk of serious complications that can become life-threatening. Chronic complications include:
· vessel disease, leading to heart attack or stroke
· eye problems, called retinopathy
· infection or skin conditions
· nerve damage, or neuropathy