St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

By Jose Concha DPM
Coastal Foot and Ankle Wellness Center 

Don't Let Diabetes Knock You Off Your Feet!

 

June 1, 2017 | View PDF



Diabetes mellitus (DM) represents several diseases in which high blood glucose levels over time can damage the nerves, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels. Diabetes can also decrease the body's ability to fight infection. When diabetes is not well controlled, damage to the organs and impairment of the immune system is likely. Foot problems commonly develop in people with diabetes and can quickly become serious. There are 2 types of Diabetes, type 1 (insulin dependent), and type 2 (non-insulin dependent).

Diabetic ulcers are the most common foot injuries leading to lower extremity amputation. Podiatrists have a pivotal role in the prevention or early diagnosis of diabetic foot complications. Management of the diabetic foot requires a thorough knowledge of the major risk factors for amputation, frequent routine evaluation and meticulous preventive maintenance. The most common risk factors for ulcer formation include diabetic neuropathy, structural foot deformity and peripheral arterial occlusive disease. A careful physical examination, buttressed by monofilament testing for neuropathy and noninvasive testing for arterial insufficiency, can identify patients at risk for foot ulcers and appropriately classify patients who already have ulcers or other diabetic foot complications. Patient education regarding foot hygiene, nail care and proper footwear is crucial to reducing the risk of an injury that can lead to ulcer formation. Adherence to a systematic regimen of diagnosis and classification can improve communication between Podiatrists and the diabetic patient. This team approach may ultimately lead to a reduction in lower extremity amputations related to diabetes.

Diabetic foot complications are the most common cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the industrialized world. The risk of lower extremity amputation is 15 to 46 times higher in diabetics than in persons who do not have diabetes mellitus. Furthermore, foot complications are the most frequent reason for hospitalization in patients with diabetes, accounting for up to 25 percent of all diabetic admissions in the United States.

The vast majority of diabetic foot complications resulting in amputation begin with the formation of skin ulcers. Early detection and appropriate treatment of these ulcers may prevent up to 85 percent of amputations. If your Family Physician has not referred you to a Podiatrist and you are diabetic, do yourself a favor and contact one promptly for a basic exam to determine your risk level.

We have been treating your feet in St. Augustine and Palatka for over 18 years. Make an appointment today with Richard Johnson, DPM or Jose Concha, DPM at (904)826-1900 in St. Augustine or (386)328-1122 in Palatka. At Coastal Foot & Ankle Wellness Center, we are setting the highest standards for your foot and ankle care.

 
 

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