November is Diabetes Awareness Month: Include a DPM for Diabetes Prevention and Management

 

More than 100 diabetic Californians lose a leg, foot or toe every week because of diabetes, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

The CDC estimates that more than 100 million US adults are living with either diabetes or prediabetes.

A serious systemic disease, diabetes disrupts the vascular system, affecting the entire body and leading to many complications throughout the body including the eyes, kidneys, legs and especially feet, which is why foot health is vital for those living with diabetes.

People with diabetes should pay special attention to their feet. Diabetes often leads to peripheral vascular disease (PVD). In PVD, there is a narrowing of the blood vessels that frequently leads to significantly decreased circulation in the lower part of the legs and feet, which makes the feet one of the first parts of the body to show signs of peripheral vascular disease.

Poor circulation contributes to diabetic foot problems by reducing the amount of blood, oxygen and nutrition supplied to the skin and other tissue, leading to swelling, dryness and cracks of the foot, causing injuries to heal poorly and amputation.

For those with diabetes or prediabetes, it is essential to include a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) for proper diabetes prevention and management. In fact, DPMs can help reduce amputation rates up to 80 percent.

To help prevent from becoming part of that statistic, here are a few simple things to can to help minimize the risk for diabetic ulcers and amputation low:

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.

Exercise. Walking can keep weight down and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.

Have new shoes properly 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, corns, or warts by yourself. Over-the-counter products can burn the skin and cause irreparable damage to the foot for people with diabetes.

See a podiatric physician. Regular checkups by a podiatrist—at least annually—are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.

Podiatric physicians undergo years of rigorous medical education and training to become specialists in the care and treatment of the human foot and ankle, and are especially trained to treat complicated foot conditions that can be caused by diabetes, like PVD and diabetic neuropathy (loss of sensation in the feet), infection, pressure sores and ulcers.