Disease, years of wear and
tear, ill-fitting or poorly designed shoes, poor circulation to the feet, or
improperly trimmed toenails cause many common foot problems.
To prevent foot problems, check your feet
regularly -- or, have them checked by a member of the family -- and practice
good foot hygiene. Podiatrists and primary care physicians (internists and
family practitioners) are qualified to treat most feet problems; sometimes the
special skills of an orthopedic surgeon or dermatologist are needed.
Colleen Schultz was stunned to learn that her blood sugar level was high during a routine doctor visit in the fall of 2010. Though she did not have diabetes, her results were in the prediabetes range. "I was very upset," says Schultz, a drapery fabricator in Voorheesville, N.Y. "It was depressing thinking I was falling apart. I didn't want to take medications for the rest of my life."
Her doctor gave her a prescription, which Schultz tried and then decided she'd rather focus on her doctor's other...
Improving the circulation of blood to the
feet can help prevent problems. Exposure to cold temperatures or water,
pressure from shoes, long periods of sitting, or smoking can reduce blood flow
to the feet. Even sitting with your legs crossed or wearing tight, elastic
garters or socks can affect circulation. On the other hand, raising the feet,
standing up and stretching, walking, and other forms of exercise promote good
circulation. Gentle massage and warm foot baths can also help increase
circulation to the feet.
Wearing comfortable shoes that fit well can
prevent many foot ailments. Foot width may increase with age. Always have your
feet measured before buying shoes. The upper part of the shoes should be made
of a soft, flexible material to match the shape of your foot. Shoes made of
leather can reduce the possibility of skin irritations. Soles should provide
solid footing and not be slippery. Thick soles lessen pressure when walking on
hard surfaces. Low-heeled shoes are more comfortable, safer, and less damaging
than high-heeled shoes.
Common Foot Problems
Fungal and bacterial conditions -- including
athlete's foot -- occur because the feet are usually enclosed in a dark, damp,
warm environment. These infections cause redness, blisters, peeling, and
itching. If not treated promptly, an infection may become chronic and difficult
to cure. To prevent these conditions, keep the feet -- especially the area
between the toes -- clean and dry and expose the feet to air whenever possible.
If you are prone to fungal infections, you may want to dust your feet daily
with a fungicidal powder.
Dry skin can cause itching and burning feet.
Use mild soap sparingly and a body lotion on your legs and feet every day. The
best moisturizers contain petroleum jelly or lanolin. Be cautious about adding
oils to bath water since they can make the feet and bathtub very
Corns and calluses are caused by the friction
and pressure of bony areas rubbing against shoes. A podiatrist or a physician
can determine the cause of this condition and can suggest treatment, which may
include getting better-fitting shoes or special pads. Over-the-counter
medicines, contain acids that destroy the tissue but do not treat the cause.
These medicines can sometimes reduce the need for surgery. Treating corns or
calluses yourself may be harmful, especially if you have diabetes or poor
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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