Poor Diabetes Management Can Lead to Poor Circulation

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Poor management of diabetes can lead to poor circulation and even increase a patient's risk for amputation.

It's no secret that patients with diabetes need to keep a close eye on their health, whether it be through medication, insulin, or routine check-ups. Experts say managing the disease is critical.

"When a person has diabetes and it has been uncontrolled or they tend to be up and down with their blood sugars, what they need to understand is that the sugars in their bloodstream are molecules and they damage the tiny micro-circulation out into their extremities," Dr. Jane Bolin with the Texas A&M Health Science Center School for Rural Public Health.

Over time, doctors say patients can experience nerve damage -- leading to numbness and a lack of feeling in their hands and feet.

"If you have a callus and can't feel underneath it. If you have a little bit of a cut, an infection can brew there," Endocrinologist Dr. Doug Crumpler said. "The patient doesn't feel it, that's why we always recommend that people don't walk around barefoot."

Numbness in the hands, and especially the feet, not only increases the risk for infection, but can also lead to amputation. That's why experts say proper care and management are key.

"If there's any change in sensation -- tendency that they're feeling more numb on the bottoms of their feet or their fingers, or that their vision is becoming blurry in stages, they should see a physician," Bolin said.

Experts say all of those symptoms are red flags that sugar is not being properly controlled.