Diabetes affects the lives of more than 29 milllion people in the Unites States, and more than eight million don’t even know they have the disease yet. Diabetes is the inabiity to manufacture or properly use insulin, and it impairs the body’s ability to convert sugars, starches, and other foods into energy. The long-term effects of elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can lead to serious damage to the eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and feet.
While there is no cure for diabetes, there is hope. With proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful management at home, you can help outsmart diabetes! Many people avoid the most serious complications and enjoy a full and active life.
Today’s podiatrist plays a key role in helping patients manage diabetes successfully and avoid foot-related complications. Podiatrists are highly trained physicians and surgeons focusing on the foot and ankle and should be an important part of your diabetes management team.
- More than 65,000 lower limbs are amputated annually due to complications from diabetes.
- Including a podiatrist in your diabetes care can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation up to 85 percent.
- Inclusion of care provided by podiatrists for those with diabetes will save our health-care system as much as $3.5 billion per year.
- Almost 28 percent of people with diabetes don’t know they have it.
Evaluate Your Risk
Podiatrists play a key role in the early identification and treatment if foot problems in people with diabetes. If any of the statements below applies to you, make an appointment with a podiatrist today. You may have an increased risk of foot complications.
- Numbness in the feet or toes.
- History of foot ulcers.
- Foot deformity.
- History of tobacco use.
- Prior amputation.
- Documented diabetes for more than 10 years.
Inspect feet daily.
Check your feet and toes every day for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration.
Wear thick, soft socks.
Avoid socks with seams, which could rub and cause blisters or other skin injuries.
Walking can keep weight down and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.
Have new shoes propery measured and fitted.
Foot size and shape may change over time. Shoes that fit properly are important to those with diabetes.
Don’t go barefoot.
Don’t go without shoes, even in your own home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great for those with diabetes.
Never try to remove calluses, sorns, or warts by yourself.
Over-the-counter products can burn the skin and cause irreparable damage to the foot for people with diabetes.
See today’s podiatrist.
Regular checkups by a podiatrist — twice per year — are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.
Source: Footprints, Fall 2014