Diabetes affects an array of individuals in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are an estimated 30.3 million cases in the U.S with approximately 7.2 million individuals not aware they have the disease. For people with diabetes, the podiatrists of Northwest Podiatry share that taking care of their feet is especially vital. More than 60 percent of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations worldwide are related to complications from the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Diabetes is the inability to manufacture or properly use insulin, impairing the body’s ability to regulate sugar (glucose) levels which provide energy to cells and tissues throughout the body. Therefore, it is a disease that affects many parts of the body and is associated with serious complications such as: heart disease; stroke; blindness; kidney failure; and lower limb amputations. The leading cause of hospitalization among people with diabetes is foot ulcers and infections, but most of those problems are largely preventable.
While is it extremely important for those with diabetes to receive regular foot exams by a podiatrist, keeping feet healthy to remain active can often prevent one from developing Type 2 diabetes. Our feet are our foundation. Keeping them healthy improves quality of life.
While there is no cure for diabetes, there are many ways of managing it. With proper diet, exercise, medical care and careful management at home, serious complications can be avoided and a person with diabetes may enjoy a full and active life.
Managing and treating the disease requires a team of specialists to guide and treat persons with the disease. A person with diabetes should have the following specialists within their Medical Neighborhood: Primary Care Physician, Endocrinologist; Ophthalmologist; Dentist; Vascular Surgeon: and a Podiatrist.
Podiatrists are physicians and surgeons that are specially trained to treat foot conditions that can be caused by diabetes, such as: neuropathy, infection and ulcers.
While ulcers—open sores on the foot—are the most common diabetes-related foot problem, several others are also serious and prevalent, including neuropathy, skin changes, calluses, poor circulation, and infection.
The nerve damage that diabetes causes may mean a person with an ulcer or injury may be unaware of it until it becomes infected. Infection can lead to partial or full amputation of the foot or lower leg. Regular care from a podiatrist can reduce amputation rates up to 80 percent, according to research of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Prediabetes is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and even heart disease. Your chances of having prediabetes go up if you:
- Are 45 or older
- Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
- Have a parent, brother sister with diabetes
- Are overweight
- Are physically inactive
- Have high blood pressure or take medicine for high blood pressure
- Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
- Had diabetes during pregnancy
- Have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome