Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Swollen Feet

Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Swollen Feet
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People with diabetes take extra care of their diet, weight and workout routines. But, not many know how this condition affects their feet.

Did you know diabetes can cause swollen feet, which require immediate medical attention? Infact, foot care is almost completely ignored in diabetes care.

Diabetes can affect the circulation of blood, especially in the lower extremities, resulting in fluid build-up and subsequent swelling in legs and feet.  

 

What are the Reasons for Swollen Feet in People With Diabetes?

While there can be many reasons for diabetes and swelling of feet, diabetes-related complications must be evaluated in people with the condition. Here are some reasons that can cause diabetes swollen feet:

1. Obesity

Obesity is one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and also increases the risk for foot edema or swelling.

2. Medications

 Certain hypertensive medications can increase the risk of water retention or fluid build-up, resulting in foot swelling in people with diabetes.

3. Diabetes neuropathy

Diabetes neuropathy nerve degeneration can result in sorbitol accumulation, causing foot sensation problems. This makes it difficult to notice injuries, increasing the risk of sprains and fractures, which may trigger foot swelling.  

4. Cardiovascular complications

 Heart conditions like hypertension and congestive heart failure increase the risk of foot swelling. This may get aggravated in people with type 2 diabetes.

5. Kidney conditions 

Diabetes is known to be a leading cause of chronic kidney disease. The kidneys regulate fluid balance in the body, and any functional issue with the kidneys can result in leg and foot swelling in people with diabetes.

6. Impaired blood flow

Increased blood sugar levels can result in arterial thickening that can cause them to lose their elasticity. This impedes blood flow to the feet, giving rise to fluid build-up and swelling in the feet.

7. Blood clotting

 When a blood clot develops in one leg, it may be related to a blood clot. This is common in deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and can give rise to swelling in the lower extremities.

Why Does Diabetes Foot Swelling Appear in the Evenings?

Most people with type 2 diabetes notice their feet swelling during the evenings. This could be due to prolonged standing or sitting that increases strain on the feet towards the end of the day, causing the pooling of fluid and giving rise to swelling.

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How to Reduce Diabetes Swollen Feet?

If you have swelling in your legs and feet due to diabetes, you must report it to your doctor at the earliest. While the treatment depends upon the root cause of the swelling, here are some things you can do to alleviate it:

  • Use compression socks to stimulate blood flow in the legs by squeezing them. They are easily available over the counter or with a prescription.
  • Elevate your feet above the heart level to improve circulation and blood flow to the legs. You can place a stool or a pillow to prop your feet while sitting or lying down.
  • Reduce your salt intake as it can increase your body’s tendency to retain water. Avoid foods like chips, crackers, processed meats, canned foods and others that contain excess salt and can increase the swelling in your feet.

Your doctor will prescribe the required medications to lower your diabetes-related swelling feet.

Home Remedies for Diabetes Swollen Feet  

Well, the good news is that foot swelling during diabetes can be prevented. Infact, according to American Diabetes Association, maintaining optimal blood glucose levels is essential to prevent diabetes neuropathy (nerve injury in the feet in people with diabetes).

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Here are some ways to prevent swollen feet due to diabetes:

  • Weight loss: Lifestyle changes aimed at reducing weight and maintaining it within the optimum range can prevent oedema in diabetes.
  • Regular exercise: Regular physical activity improves circulation throughout the body, especially when aimed at the lower half. Getting a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per day or 150 minutes per week may be helpful.
  • Eating a healthy diet: A diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats gives your body the required nutrients. Also, remember to limit your salt intake while keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods: If you have a sedentary lifestyle, it may help to move around every 40-45 minutes to increase circulation in your legs.
  • Regular monitoring of blood pressure: People with diabetes must monitor their blood pressure levels regularly to detect any complications that may arise. This will help prevent swollen feet due to changes in blood pressure.
  • Neuropathy testing: People with type 2 diabetes must undergo neuropathy testing from time to time, either by a nerve conduction test or electromyography. This will help your doctor determine if you are showing any early signs of neuropathy, which may result in swollen feet or other symptoms.

When should you worry about feet swelling? or when to seek doctors help

  • Since people with diabetes are more prone for developing nerve as well as blood vessels damage therefore, you should always look for initial signs and symptoms, before developing any further complications and always focus on foot care before developing such symptoms.
  • If you experience persistent or severe foot swelling, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as:
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Warmth

It’s important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

FitterTake!

Though the awareness about the link between diabetes and swollen feet is less known, it is important for the overall health and well-being of people with this condition.

If you have diabetes, you can prevent foot-related complications, including swollen feet, by taking the necessary precautions. When in doubt, ask your doctor or diabetologist.

Concerned about your high blood sugar levels? Check out Fitterfly’s Diabetes Care Program, designed with expert guidance, including diabetologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and fitness experts!

Speak to us today! Just give us a missed call at 08069450746, and we will get back to you.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common signs and symptoms of diabetes feet?

Changes in skin colour on the feet, Changes in skin temperature, Swelling in the ankle or foot, Pain or tingling sensation in the foot, Loss of hair on the toes or feet, and Inability to feel hot or cold temperature in the feet

Should you be concerned about diabetes-related foot swelling?

Any foot swelling needs proper history, examinations and investigations to rule out the cause and determine further management. Untreated diabetes swollen feet can otherwise result in ulcers and nerve or blood vessel damage.

What kind of footwear should people with diabetes wear?

Picking the right footwear is important for people with diabetes. There is plenty of specialised footwear for these individuals like In-depth shoes and Customised shoes

How should people with diabetes take care of their feet?

Foot care is an important and essential part of the daily routine in people with diabetes. These individuals must wash their feet properly before going to bed each night. Proper foot care in people with diabetes includes – washing their feet daily, wearing properly fitted socks, trimming toenails from time to time and avoiding any injuries while walking.

Does swollen feet/ankles mean diabetes?

No, swollen feet/ankles does not always means that you have diabetes but it could be one of the complications of diabetes. To confirm you can get your blood sugar checked.

Which kind of food reduces foot swelling?

If the foot swelling is caused due to inflammation, incorporating foods rich in vitamins C and E can be beneficial. Vitamin C sources like amla, oranges, and guava, along with vitamin E-rich foods such as walnuts, almonds, seeds, and fatty fishes, can help alleviate inflammation. Limiting sodium intake by avoiding packaged foods and excessive salt in your diet is crucial. Including potassium-rich foods like spinach, broccoli, and cucumber may also assist in reducing swelling.

- By Fitterfly Health-Team

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