Diabetes is one of the most common metabolic diseases affecting Americans. The American Diabetes Association reports 23.6 million people in the US have Diabetes Mellitus which is 7.8% of the population. Common complications which can occur from diabetes include vision problems, kidney disease and loss of feeling in the hands and feet as well as wounds to the bottom of the feet.
Frequent medical visits with your podiatrist are imperative to the prevention of lower extremity complications related to diabetes. Foot deformities like hammertoes can form as a result of diabetes causing the patient to be at high-risk for the development of wounds to the feet. Untreated calluses or wounds to the feet often lead to infection, which frequently requires hospitalization and even amputation. Preventative measures taken by your podiatrist include the prescription of diabetic shoes and treatment of digital deformities, either with conservative treatment or surgical intervention. Dry skin can also create fissuring which can lead to infection. This also may be treated by a daily regimen as directed by your Podiatrist. Diabetic patients should perform a daily foot evaluation in their home to identify the development of ulcerations or calluses. The sooner a diabetic patient can receive medical attention for foot related issues, the better his or her chance is for a favorable treatment outcome.
Below are some statistics that should be very eye opening to any diabetic patient and stress the importance for both tight blood sugar control and frequent visits with their health care providers.
Patients with Diabetes Mellitus:
- Males are two times more likely to suffer heart attack
- Females are four times more likely to suffer heart attack
- Risk of stroke is doubled for both men and women
- 45% of diabetics will experience neuropathy (painful burning in the feet and loss of feeling)
- 15-20% will develop a lower extremity wound of which 15% will require amputation
- If you have a below the knee amputation there is a 40% chance of amputation to the other leg
- If you have a below the knee amputation, you have a 50% mortality rate in 5 yrs