Pharmacist shares warning signs of two silent killers in your feet

Dr Amir says big toe can reveal diabetes and heart disease

Silent killers are an umbrella term for medical conditions with no obvious symptoms that can progress to an advanced stage before they are detected.

Both heart disease and diabetes belong to the group of these gloomy health problems.

Diabetes doesn’t often cause noticeable signs, but it can lead to serious complications, including heart attacks and cancer, Diabetes UK explains.

Heart disease can go virtually unnoticed until a complete blockage of the artery produces a medical emergency.

Therefore it’s imperative to be aware of the red flag signs that might appear, with your feet being able to ring alarm bells.

READ MORE Dr Amir warns your big toe could show signs of diabetes and circulatory problems

Noel Wicks, pharmacist and advisor to Excilor, said: “We need to keep an eye on our foot health, including our toenails, because it can impact on our overall health and be a sign of [serious] health issues.”

Heart disease

Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles but it is also the home of many blood vessels.

The blood vessels to the toes are tiny so it doesn’t take much for them to clog up with fat – a marker of heart disease.

The pharmacist explained that this process can therefore spur on cold, numb, painful, or swollen feet.

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“Thickening and brittleness of toenails may also occur with heart disease,” Wicks added.


Worryingly, signs of diabetes in the feet can be vague and easily missed, the expert explained.

He recommended looking out for the following warning signs in your feet:

  • Tingling, burning or pain 
  • Loss of sense of touch
  • Cracked, dry skin, blisters and sores that don’t heal
  • Fungal infections (including yellow thickened nails)
  • Athlete’s foot.

If you think you might have diabetes based on the signs in your feet, the pharmacist recommended seeing a doctor as soon as possible.

“With more caution needed for those who have type 2 diabetes as they have a higher risk of toenail infections, treat these fungal conditions immediately with products such as those in the clinically backed Excilor range,” he added.

However, heart disease and diabetes aren’t the only health problems linked to changes in your feet.

Therefore, Wicks recommended seeking a professional’s help if you:

  • Are unable to walk or put weight on your foot
  • Have pain or swelling in your feet that isn’t getting better
  • Experience numbness, tingling, sores or rashes that don’t health
  • Spot changes in the shape of your feet and loss of hair on your toes.

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