Diabetes is a chronic condition that can significantly impact a person's health. People with diabetes need to manage their blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and receive regular check-ups to help prevent complications.
Over the long term, diabetics are exposed to health complications like cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, eye damage, nerve damage, skin problems, cognitive decline, and foot problems. Diabetic foot is a complication of diabetes that affects the feet and lower legs. It is caused by nerve damage, poor circulation, and infection.
The severity of diabetic foot can range from minor skin problems to serious complications such as amputation. The treatment costs can vary based on the nature and severity of the complication.
People with diabetes are often recommended to opt for a medical insurance plan that offers comprehensive coverage for diabetes and associated complications. However, even if you have a health insurance policy that offers coverage for diabetes, make sure that you check with the insurer if Diabetic Foot and other diabetes-related complications are covered or not.
Tata AIG offers several health insurance plans to cater to the varying requirements of people. While there are numerous benefits of health insurance, it is important to buy a policy from a provider with a high claim settlement ratio and a reputation for being customer-focused.
Tata AIG is a preferred name in health insurance, allowing people to buy health insurance online and offline in a hassle-free and affordable manner.
In this article, we will talk about a Diabetic Foot infection and its symptoms and treatment to understand the disease better.
What is Diabetic Foot?
Diabetic foot is a condition that affects individuals with diabetes, characterised by various foot problems such as neuropathy, infection, and poor blood flow.
Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the feet, making it difficult for a person to detect injuries or cuts. Poor blood flow can make it difficult for wounds to heal and can increase the risk of infection.
Left untreated, these complications can lead to severe infection, amputation, and even death. People with diabetes should take steps to protect their feet, such as regularly inspecting them for cuts or sores and wearing shoes that fit well and provide good support.
They should also work with their healthcare provider to manage their diabetes and blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of complications.
Diabetic Foot Causes
While diabetes is the root cause of a diabetic foot, two primary factors cause diabetes-related foot conditions. These are:
Damage to the nerves: One of the most common complications of diabetes is Diabetic Neuropathy. In this condition, constant high levels of blood sugar damage the nerves. One in every two diabetics faces this condition where nerves in the hands, legs, and feet are affected.
Patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy do not feel pain in the limbs. Hence, they do not realise the presence of any cuts or sores. As a result, they intensify into diabetic foot problems.
Lack of adequate circulation: Many diabetics with higher blood sugar levels also suffer from Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD. In this condition, the arteries get blocked or narrowed. This makes it harder for the blood to flow causing poor circulation in the extremities.
A wound needs proper circulation to heal. With poor circulation, any wound on the feet doesn’t heal faster and causes complications.
Diabetic Foot Symptoms
Diabetic foot symptoms can include any of the following:
Numbness or tingling in the feet or toes
Foot or ankle pain or cramps
Foot or ankle weakness
Dry, cracked skin on the feet
Slow-healing sores or cuts on the feet
Foot or ankle infection
Ulcers or sores on the feet that do not heal
Gangrene (tissue death) in the foot
Amputation of toes, feet, or legs in severe cases.
It is important for individuals with diabetes to regularly check their feet for any of these symptoms and to seek medical attention if any are present.
Types of Diabetic Foot Complications
Diabetic foot complications can occur due to nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor circulation (vascular disease) associated with diabetes. Some common complications include:**
Ulcers or sores: Diabetic neuropathy can cause loss of sensation in the feet, making it difficult to detect injuries or blisters. This can lead to ulcers or sores that do not heal easily.
Infections: Poor circulation and decreased ability to fight off infection due to neuropathy make people with diabetes more susceptible to foot infections, which can lead to amputation if not treated promptly.
Charcot foot: This is a condition in which the bones in the foot become weakened and begin to shift out of place. It is caused by nerve damage and poor blood flow and can lead to deformities and chronic pain.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD): PAD is a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the legs and feet, caused by plaque build-up. PAD can lead to poor wound healing, increased risk of infection, and amputation.
Gangrene: This is a serious complication that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the foot is cut off, causing the tissue to die. Gangrene can lead to amputation if not treated immediately.
It is important for people with diabetes to regularly check their feet for any signs of complications and to seek prompt medical attention if they notice any changes. Regular foot care, including proper hygiene and regular visits to a podiatrist, are essential to prevent complications in Diabetic Foot.
Diabetic Foor Stages
Diabetic foot is a progressive condition that can be divided into four Stages:
Stage 1: Early diabetic foot:** At this **Stage, there are no visible signs of wound or infection, but there may be symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or burning in the feet. This is caused by nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor circulation. People with diabetes should be particularly vigilant about checking their feet for any signs of injury or changes in skin colour, temperature, or sensation.
Stage 2: Diabetic foot ulcer:** At this **Stage, a wound or ulcer has developed on the feet. These wounds are often caused by minor injuries or pressure points that are not noticed or treated on time. The wound may be shallow or deep, but it is important to address it immediately to prevent further complications.
Stage 3: Diabetic foot infection:** At this *Stage, the wound or ulcer has become infected. The infection can spread to the bones, tendons, and surrounding tissue. Treatment at this *Stage may include antibiotics, wound care, and/or surgery to remove the infected tissue.
Stage 4: Diabetic foot amputation:** At this **Stage, amputation may be necessary to prevent the spread of infection and save the person's life. This can be a traumatic and life-changing experience, and people with diabetes need to be aware of the risks and take steps to prevent the progression of diabetic foot.
Diabetic Foot Diagnosis
Diabetic foot diagnosis typically begins with a physical examination of the feet and legs. The healthcare provider will look for signs of neuropathy (nerve damage) and poor circulation, which are common in people with diabetes. They may also check for sores, ulcers, or other injuries on the feet.
Additional tests that may be performed to help diagnose diabetic foot include:
Monofilament test to check for loss of sensation in the feet
Vibration perception threshold test to check for nerve damage
Ankle-brachial index (ABI) to check for poor circulation
X-rays or other imaging tests to check for bone or joint problems
Culture or wound biopsy to check for infection
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of Diabetic Foot and to have regular foot exams to detect any problems early on. Foot care is especially important for people with diabetes, including regular foot inspections, proper foot hygiene, and comfortable, properly fitting shoes.
Diabetic foot can lead to serious complications, including amputation, if not treated properly. Early diagnosis and proper management are essential for preventing these complications.
Diabetic Foot Treatment
Treatment for diabetic foot depends on the specific condition and its severity. The main goal of treatment is to prevent infection and promote healing.
In the case of minor injuries, such as cuts or blisters, the wound is cleaned and covered with a sterile bandage. If an infection is present, antibiotics may be prescribed.
If a person has an open sore or a diabetic foot ulcer, the wound is cleaned and dressed regularly to prevent infection. Off-loading, which takes the weight off the affected foot by using crutches, a wheelchair, or a special shoe, is also important for diabetic foot ulcer treatment.
In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove dead tissue and promote healing. In some cases, amputation may be necessary to prevent the spread of infection.
In addition to the specific treatment for the wound, people with diabetic foot should also take steps to control their blood sugar levels and to improve circulation in their feet and legs. This may include taking medications, such as insulin or blood sugar-lowering drugs, and making lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Regular follow-up care is also essential for people with Diabetic Foot to monitor the healing process, check for signs of infection, and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
Prevention of Diabetic Foot
Preventing diabetic foot is an important aspect of managing diabetes. The following are some key steps that can be taken to prevent diabetic foot:**
Control blood sugar levels: High blood sugar levels can damage nerves and blood vessels, leading to diabetic foot. Keeping blood sugar levels within a target range, as recommended by a healthcare provider, is essential for preventing diabetic foot.
Regular foot exams: People with diabetes should have regular foot exams to check for any problems, such as sores, calluses, or ingrown toenails. These should be performed by a healthcare provider or a podiatrist (foot doctor) trained to detect and manage a diabetic foot condition.
Proper foot hygiene: Keeping the feet clean and dry is important for preventing infections. This includes washing the feet daily with soap and water, and drying them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
Wearing appropriate footwear: People with diabetes should wear shoes that fit well and provide foot support and protection. Shoes should be comfortable, have a non-slip sole, and be wide enough to accommodate any foot deformities resulting from diabetic neuropathy.
Smoking cessation: Smoking can cause peripheral artery disease, increasing the risk of foot complications.
Exercise: Regular exercise can help improve circulation, which is important for preventing diabetic foot.
Control blood pressure: High blood pressure can also damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to diabetic foot. Keeping blood pressure within a target range, as recommended by a healthcare provider, is important for preventing diabetic foot.
Regular check-ups: Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider are important for monitoring diabetes and preventing diabetic foot complications.
By following these preventive measures, people with diabetes can reduce their risk of developing diabetic foot and other complications associated with diabetes.
Why Use a Medical Insurance Plan
A medical insurance plan is designed to offer financial protection to policyholders during medical emergencies. With increasing instances of lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes and associated illnesses, treatment and medical care costs can be overwhelming. With a medical insurance plan, you can get the treatment done without worrying about these costs.
Here are some benefits offered by medical insurance:
Financial protection in case of an unexpected illness or injury: Health insurance can help cover the cost of medical treatment for unexpected illnesses or injuries, preventing large medical bills from causing financial strain.
Coverage for preventative care and routine check-ups: Health insurance can help cover the cost of preventative care, such as routine physical exams, screenings, and vaccinations. This can help catch and prevent potential health issues before they become more serious.
Access to a wider range of healthcare providers and specialists: Health insurance can provide access to a wider range of healthcare providers and specialists, including those that may not be available to those without insurance.
Coverage for prescription drugs: Many health insurance plans cover the cost of prescription drugs, which can be costly without insurance.
Assistance with managing chronic conditions: Health insurance can help cover the cost of managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer, which require ongoing treatment and monitoring.
Help with managing the cost of expensive medical treatments: Health insurance can help cover the cost of expensive medical treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, that can be unaffordable without insurance.
Mental health and substance abuse coverage: Many health insurance plans include coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment, which can be essential for those with these conditions.
Protection against catastrophic medical expenses: Health insurance can provide protection against catastrophic medical expenses, such as those associated with major illnesses or injuries, which can be financially devastating without insurance.
How to Buy Tata AIG’s Health Insurance
Choosing the right insurance provider can help you get the most out of your policy.
Tata AIG offers different types of health insurance plans. Each of these plans has certain benefits and exclusions. We have gained popularity as a reliable and customer-centric insurance provider with a high claim settlement ratio. With us, you can buy health insurance plans offline or online as per your preference.
Steps to buying TATA AIG health insurance online
Visit the Health Insurance page on our website.
Select the number of people who will be covered under the policy and their relation to you.
After making this selection, click on “Get Plan.”
Go through the list of plans displayed based on your requirements.
Select the optimum sum insured and policy term. Remember, increasing the sum insured and policy term will increase the premium.
Once you are comfortable with the features of the policy, the sum insured, and the policy term, select the plan and click “Buy Now.”
Provide additional information as requested by the site.
Receive the call from our agent and complete the verification procedure.
Pay the premium online.
Receive the policy documents at your registered email address.
Steps to buying TATA AIG health insurance offline
Use the branch locator to find a TATA AIG office closest to you
Visit the office and explain your insurance requirements to our representative
Understand the terms and conditions of the different policies offered to you
Compare the features, inclusions, and exclusions along with the premium to choose the best policy for your needs
Fill out the application form and attach the documents required before submitting them
Pay the premium at the branch/office
Receive the policy documents via physical mail at your registered mailing address
Documents Required to Buy Tata AIG’s Medical Insurance Plan
We will require some documents from you to establish your age, identity, address, and medical history. This will help us offer the best health insurance coverage.
Here are some documents you will need to buy a TATA AIG medical insurance plan:
A document establishing your identity (Aadhar, PAN, Passport, etc.)
Proof of your age or date of birth
Any valid document as proof of your residential address
A document establishing your income
The complete set of documents describing your medical history
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Disclaimer / TnC
Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.
Q1. Can diabetic foot lead to amputation?
Q1. Can diabetic foot lead to amputation?
Yes, in severe cases, a diabetic foot can lead to amputation. This is usually a last resort option when all other treatments have failed to heal the wound or prevent infection from spreading.
Q2. Can I get diabetic foot if I don't have diabetes?
No, diabetic foot is a complication of diabetes caused by nerve damage, poor circulation, and lack of sensation in the feet.
Q3. Can diabetic foot be reversed?
Diabetic foot can be managed and treated, but it is not reversible. However, with proper care and management, the progression of the condition can be slowed down, and the risk of amputation can be reduced.
Q4. Can massage therapy help Diabetic Foot?
Massage therapy can help improve circulation, which can benefit people with Diabetic Foot. However, it should be done with caution, as massage can cause further damage to the affected area. It is best to consult with your healthcare team before trying massage therapy.
Q5. Can physical therapy help diabetic foot?
Physical therapy can help to improve the range of motion, strength, and balance in people with Diabetic Foot. It can also help to reduce pain and improve overall function. Physical therapy should be done under the guidance of a qualified therapist and in coordination with your healthcare team