Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body is unable to use it properly. This is because the body's method of converting glucose into energy isn't working as it should.
There are two common forms of diabetes. Type 1 is also known as insulin dependent diabetes. This is usually diagnosed in children or young adults. People with type of diabetes usually require daily insulin injections. Type 2 or non-insulin dependent diabetes is by far the most common form and usually affects people over the age of 40 years. It may be managed by modified diet and exercise but may also require medication under a doctor's supervision.
If diabetes is poorly controlled for a long period of time, it can lead to adverse secondary affects on the feet. This can include nerve damage to the feet, otherwise known as "peripheral neuropathy" in which there is impaired sensation, and/or reduced blood supply, also known as "poor circulation". These conditions can affect the body's ability to sense injury to the feet and can impair its ability to heal. This increases the risk of ulcer formation and/or infection.
Podiatry is considered primary health care and can aid in the monitoring of the diabetic foot through education, preventative care and treatment as required.
For more information on what diabetes is, refer to the Diabetes Australia - Western Australia website.