World Diabetes Day, an annual initiative devoted to raising awareness of diabetes as well as raising money to help fund research into the condition. Set up by British charity group Diabetes UK, World Diabetes Day is the annual focal point for the charity’s diabetes awareness, campaigning and fundraising activities. It has been predicted that 5.5 million people in the UK will have the condition by 2030, which shows how important it is that people are educated in how to self-manage it, prevent complications and support those affected.
This year marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin, which has saved millions of lives around the world. On 14th November 2021, we are celebrating this incredible breakthrough and also raising awareness of diabetes, which is a condition that affects millions of people around the world.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the amount of glucose in your blood is too high, which means the body cannot use it properly. This is because your pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter your body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).
There are 2 main types of diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is where the body fails to produce insulin. The hormones help glucose to enter cells where it provides the body with energy. Without insulin, the sugar level in the blood rises to much higher levels than would be found in a normal individual. This type usually affects younger people, appearing before the age of 40, and is treated by insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes is where the body continues to produce insulin. However, either not enough is made or the insulin produced is not recognised by the body and so cannot produce its effect. The biggest cause of this ‘insulin resistance’ is obesity, therefore overweight people are more at risk of developing type 2. This type usually affects older people, appearing after the age of 40.
How does diabetes affect the feet?
Circulation can be affected by diabetes and lead to reduced arterial supply to the foot. This can lead to intermittent claudication (a cramping feeling in the leg when walking), poor healing of wounds or lesions of the foot and increase the risk of infection. Feeling or sensation can be adversely affected by diabetes, the unstable blood sugar levels over time can lead to damage of the peripheral nerves of the feet. This leads to the experience of numbness and loss of feeling. This puts the feet more at risk of injury as the person can’t feel their feet as well. In more serious cases the foot can lose all sensation and then the feet have to be checked visually as the feeling sensation is absent.
Wound healing can also be affected by diabetes. The unstable blood sugar levels coupled with the two factors outlined as above make wound healing slower and more at risk of complications such as infection.
The importance of healthy fitted footwear
Ill-fitting shoes can cause damage to the feet of people who have diabetes due to neuropathy. Neuropathy can cause loss of sensation in the feet which means the damage can go unnoticed.
If shoes are too narrow, tight or loose, they can cause blisters or ulcers which can be slow to heal and lead to infections. If you have swollen feet in addition to diabetes, it is important to have comfortable, correctly fitting extra wide fit shoes. A podiatrist can advise on choosing appropriate footwear but here are some tips:
Beware of choosing shoes that are too tight as the increased pressure of tight shoes can make them feel the right size. Feet get larger and broader in older people, but many people often continue to buy the same size. One study showed that a third of the people surveyed said they took a different shoe size from the one they were wearing, probably due to the fact that shoes sizes vary from maker to maker.
Before buying footwear, run your fingers inside to check for anything that may harm. Look for styles that have minimal seaming to help prevent rubbing which could lead to foot sores.
After buying a new pair of shoes, wear them for 30 minutes to 1 hour at first, then inspect your feet for pressure marks or irritations. A hand mirror is useful to ensure that all parts of the feet can be examined. Gradually build up the wearing time.
Enjoy blissful comfort with Cosyfeet’s diabetic-friendly products, just look out for our diabetic-friendly logo alongside our products online and in the catalogue.
A wonderful fit if your feet are swollen, misshapen and sensitive, with the deep and roomy toe area and added elastane stretch, Karena supports and accommodates, offering you a more comfortable fit.
Cotton‑rich Softhold® Seam‑free Socks
Super soft and lightweight the socks are cleverly designed with a smooth join at the toe, adding that extra detail for added comfort.
Shop our extra roomy fit or standard fit today
Soft yet supportive, Richie offers cushioned insoles allowing a very comfortable underfoot. With the broad toe shape and seam-free element at the front, it’s a perfect choice for problem and sensitive toes, and accommodating for swelling with the strap that adjusts to the fit.
Stylish and practical, Moose is a great boot to explore the outdoors, whatever the weather. The boot is 100% waterproof and designed to fit swollen feet. The cleated sole offers a good grip underfoot and is shock absorbing for that added comfort.
Emma is specially designed with a touch-fastening strap at the back of the foot as well as across the top so it's fully adjustable and accessible. Additionally, the slipper offers a seam-free front, ideal for those with sensitive feet.
To discover more about diabetes and the charity, go to www.diabetes.org.uk.