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Visiting your podiatrist regularly can reduce serious diabetes-related foot problems
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON DIABETES-RELATED FOOT PROBLEMS?
- Diabetic neuropathy
- nerves, vascular system, skin, immune system
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Skin breakdown: dry skin, corns, calluses, blisters, athlete's foot, fungal nail, warts, ulcers
- Infections: inability to fight infections.
WHAT HAPPENS IN DIABETES TO CAUSE SOME PEOPLE TO EXPERIENCE FOOT SORES AND OTHER FOOT PROBLEMS?
Elevated blood sugar glycates the nerves, arteries, and wbc cells and skin. This leads to a cascade of events that cause people to experience foot sores and other foot problems…….
HOW CAN DIABETICS REDUCE THE CHANCES THAT THEY’LL HAVE DIABETES-RELATED FOOT PROBLEMS?
Check their blood glucose levels daily, check their A1c levels regularly, and inspect their feet and shoes regularly, and be evaluated by a podiatrist at least every three month for a routine check up and even more regularly if needed.
Check your A1C levels. This is the glycated hemoglobin levels in your blood which is a general indicator of what your average glucose levels are over time and this helps provide a more accurate picture of how well you are managing the disease.
It’s important to Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Eat a balanced diet with proper portion sizes. Stick to a schedule. Skipping meals, letting too much time pass between meals, or eating too much or too often can cause your blood sugar levels to fall and rise too much. Follow your treatment plan which should be individualized. How to treat their feet what appropriate shoe gear to wear.
HOW CAN A PODIATRIST HELP DIABETICS MANAGE THEIR DISEASE AND OTHER CONDITIONS RELATED TO IT?
It's important for the podiatrist to treat the patient not just the foot. Treat the patient not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. This disease is emotionally and psychologically debilitating as it is physically. It's important to educate the patient regarding the disease overall and how it affects the entire body and not just the foot. It's important to encourage the patient to be educated optimistic, and help guide them to make positive lifestyle changes that are obtainable, gradual, and progressive while providing them all the resources to properly inform and empower themselves so that they may take control of their condition. It's important that patients are aware of all their risk factors that may complicate their condition such as smoking. This will have a tremendous impact not only on their overall health but it will also lessen the effect that the disease has on their feet. It’s important to work along with other healthcare providers such as endocrinologist or primary care physicians to maintain the overall health of the patient and refer out to other specialists for evaluation when needed.
WHEN MIGHT AMPUTATION BECOME SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT?
When a patient develops a serious infection of the foot or gangrene that is no longer manageable and may most life threatening complications.
IF AMPUTATION IS REQUIRED, WHICH DOCTOR CAN HELP PATIENTS WITH THAT AND WHAT SHOULD PATIENTS KNOW BEFORE SCHEDULING SURGERY?
A podiatrist may perform amputations as it pertains to the foot and ankle. If the condition requires management above the foot and ankle such as below the knee amputation then the appropriate physician will be a vascular surgeon. It's important for patients to have through perspective on the condition from multiple specialists in a hospital setting that are working together to treat the condition systemically to ensure the the procedure goes well and will heal appropriately afterwards. Lifestyle changes will also need to be made to help the patient deal with every aspect of daily living that will be impacted from having an amputation and to prevent further health complications or subsequent amputations.