Diabetes is a challenging disease that requires attentiveness and cares to manage. One of the symptoms of diabetes is nerve damage called neuropathy. Neuropathy is particularly common in the toes and feet, often leading to feet feeling particularly cold. Unfortunately, it is generally unsafe for diabetics to use heating pads or heating blankets to help with cold feet.
Why Shouldn’t Diabetics Use a Heating Pad?
There is a good reason that a diabetic should not use a heating pad. Diabetes and heating pads can be a dangerous combination. As mentioned earlier, one of the complications of diabetes is nerve damage. As nerves closer to the skin stop working properly, it can be difficult to tell by feeling if the skin is getting too hot (or too cold). If you leave a heating pad on, this can lead to inadvertent burns.
While there are not necessarily safe heating pads for diabetics, you can use one safely by not placing it directly on the skin. Keep at least two layers of clothing - like socks or towels - between the skin and the heating pad. Frequently check the skin to see if it is becoming red. A light pink color is safe, but if the skin begins to look red add more layers between the skin and the heating pad.
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Why Can’t Diabetics Use Heated Blankets?
Much like heating pads, heated blankets can also cause burns if left on skin for too long. Diabetics can use electric blankets if they use them to warm up the bed before getting in and either turn off or remove the blanket when they go to bed. Be sure not to leave the blankets on all night, though - they can be a fire hazard as well.
Heating Pad and Electric Blanket Alternatives
If diabetics can’t use heating pads or electric blankets, what can they use to stay warm?
Diabetic socks are a great choice for those who suffer from cold feet. They are made without tight elastic bands at the top for additional comfort and come in a variety of thicknesses. They also come with rubber on the bottom for safer walking.
Fleece blankets are one of the best for holding in warmth. Put the blanket on top of a heating pad or toss it in the dryer for a few minutes to really warm it up.
Slippers with a thick rubber sole are also great for keeping feet warm and have added grip for walking around.