March 24, 2013

Diabetes Amputations Can Be Halved


Those of us with diabetes, and I am not singling out any type, have the fear of amputation. This is on the mind of everyone at some time. Yet, I continually read articles, press releases, and stories saying that many of the amputations should never have been necessary if people with diabetes would have followed foot care procedures in the early stages.

Yes, this may sound harsh, but many could have been prevented as this study shows.  Orthotic researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have studied diabetic foot complications ever since 2008. Granted, this was a specialized study with orthotic shoe inserts that protect our feet and minimize the risk of foot ulcers. Foot ulcers are one of the problems for people with diabetes and often cause the need for amputation.

Researchers completed the study that involved 114 Swedish patients with diabetes who were at risk of developing foot ulcers. The results show that shoe inserts, podiatry, information, and regular foot checkups can prevent the ulcers. This could eliminate the need of amputation by more than 50 percent.

This should shine the emphasis on foot care and the reason to see your podiatrist on a regular basis. Discuss the need for shoe inserts and talk about areas of the foot carefully to examine on a daily basis. I know that too often, I became bored with seeing my podiatrist because it was just a toenail clipping and looking at calluses. This study has renewed my desire to see my podiatrist and have a discussion about the areas to watch on a more earnest basis.

Another area of concern happened during the month of February in another press release showing that foot ulcers are more resistant to hyperbaric oxygen therapy and that this could be the reason for more amputations. I will be blogging about that study in another blog, but wanted this to be on your mind as a way to prevent foot ulcers before this need ever became a concern.

This was not part of the study and therefore is just my thoughts, but in previous conversations with my podiatrist, he would always ask what my last A1c results were.  This leads me to believe that maintaining A1c's will help minimize the effects of foot ulcers to a point if you need shoe orthotics and use them. It may not prevent all foot ulcers, but should aid in their being taken care of before they become a problem. Maintaining blood glucose management that keeps blood glucose levels, as near to normal as possible should be the goal of every person with diabetes to prevent foot ulcers from becoming a problem with diabetes.
Image courtesy of madisonpodiatrist.com

Also, read my blog here for keeping happy feet. Many of the points used in that blog apply here as well and should become part of your routine for good footwear and foot care. I will not use more images as they are not pleasant to look at, but if you wish to satisfy your curiosity, use your search engine and type in “foot ulcers” and then click on images. This is why bloggers stress foot care as being an important part of diabetes management.

2 comments:

Anna Kiff said...

I know with Type 1 diabetics this is a scary thing. There is more of this occurring actually in 18-24 year old students in Ontario - due to their meds not being paid for by the province at age of 18 - and either they pay for their schooling/rent - and forgo insulin/etc. to keep them from having complications. I only found out about this from a CDE a few weeks ago - and I cried - thinking - this is Canada's medical system? (when it's actually just one province - so far - that I'm aware of). Great tips Bob!! Touch wood - my tootsies are still in good shape after so many years with this disease.

Bob Fenton said...

Anna,

Just keep taking good care of them. I do not understand why governments have to be the way they are.