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Diabetes Awareness

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is the inability to manufacture and use insulin, which impairs the body's ability to convert sugars, starches, and other foods into energy; resulting in elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia).  Left untreated, diabetes can lead to significant damage to the eyes, heart, kidney, nerves, and feet.  

Although there is no cure, structured treatment plans consisting of exercise, regimented dieting, medical care, and careful home management allow individuals with diabetes can enjoy full, active lives.

Treating Diabetes Requires A Team Approach:

Because diabetes is a disease affecting many parts of the body, successful management requires a team approach. Today's podiatrist is an integral part of the treatment team and has documented success in preventing amputations:

  • More than 100,000 lower limbs are amputated annually due to complications from diabetes.
  • After an amputation, the chance of another amputation within three to five years is as high as 50 percent.
  • Including a podiatrist in your diabetes care can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation up to 85 percent and lowers the risk of hospitalization by 24 percent.

The keys to amputation prevention are early recognition and regular foot screenings performed by a podiatrist, the foot and ankle expert.

Diabetes and Your Feet - Symptoms To Look Out For:

Diabetes warning signs involving the feet and ankles include the following:

  • Skin color changes
  • Swelling of the foot or ankle
  • Numbness in the feet or toes
  • Pain in the legs
  • Open sores on the feet that are slow to heal
  • Ingrown and fungal toenails
  • Bleeding corns and calluses
  • Dry cracks in the skin, especially around the heel
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Protect your feet!

Diabetes can have serious consequences, including ulcers on your feet, infections, amputation, and even death. But there are simple steps that can help prevent complications in your feet:

  • It’s time to do a daily foot check. Look for minor injuries and changes to temperature, color, and even hair growth. If you notice a problem, see a podiatrist right away.
  • It’s time to stop depending on home remedies. See a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and regular care.
  • It’s time to get back in your game. Check with your podiatrist before you return to sports and other activities for advice on how to avoid injuries. When you have diabetes, even a minor foot injury can mean big trouble.
  • It’s time to cut back the comfort foods. Healthy food is medicine, and small changes can have a big impact for your diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar and see a primary care doctor regularly.
  • It’s time to see a podiatrist for regular diabetic foot exams at least once a year. Ask about telehealth options that will allow you to include your spouse or a family member.

Seeing a podiatrist regularly is an important part of managing your condition and preventing complications. If you do experience a problem with your feet, your podiatrist is the best-qualified physician to treat it.

When you add Allentown Family Foot Care to your health-care team, we will provide you with important information so you're better able to manage the effects of diabetes on your feet.  Whether you've been diagnosed recently or have been fighting diabetes for years, the resources below will help you to monitor your feet and prevent complications.

References:

  • "Diabetes Awareness" APMA - American Podiatric Medical Association, "https://www.apma.org/Patients/content.cfm?ItemNumber=35620"
  • “Diabetes” APMA – American Podiatric Medical Association,
    https://www.apma.org/diabetescare
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