Diabetes is a big problem. Around 415 million people have it in the world (American Diabetes Association)
If it was a
country it would be the 3rd largest in the world (International Diabetes
Federation)- and Diabetes is increasing in every single nation.
Great picture borrowed with love from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Winkel_triple_projection_SW.jpg
Just in the US, every day 5000 people get diagnosed (American Diabetes Association).
So what seems to be the problem? What is the big concern with Diabetes?
It is the complications- what living with Diabetes can cause. So wherever blood touches it can affect. So your eyes, kidneys all the way down to your feet.
"People with diabetes are far more likely to have a foot or leg amputated than other people"- American Diabetes Association.
Most people think about feet and toes being removed. BUT…before that can happen we need your skin to break down or to become injured.
An ulcer is the opening of the skin due to trauma, circulation or nerve issues that doesn’t really want to heal.
The skin is an amazing organ as long as it is kept in good shape and not allowed to be damaged or for its to loose its ability to keep you safe
Diabetic ulcers are an issue because:
Among patients greater than 20 years old, Diabetic Foot Ulcerations account for two-thirds of all non-traumatic amputations. (American Diabetes Association)
Then if you think after an amputation everything is going to be OK…well.
After an amputation, the chance of another amputation within 3 to 5 years is as high as 50 percent (California Podiatric Medical Association)
Then we have the cost of treatment.
The cost of diabetic foot ulcers is greater than that of the five most costly forms of cancer (Diabeticfootonline.com)
Then we have the elephant in the room. What does the rest of life look like?
Diabetic foot ulcer patients have a low survival prognosis, with a 3-year cumulative mortality rate of 28% (diabetesjournals.org)
Seems quite depressing right? Because of that, here is a bear in bunny slippers just to cheer you up :) (No idea where the picture is from, but its great)
Unfortunately many patients will try and fix an issue with their feet before coming to see the Doctor. Sometimes they will search “Dr Google”, find over the counter medications and other times they consult with friends/ relatives before coming to see the clinician.
These are the most common things patients have done to their feet:
Diabetic foot ulcers can be very quick to go from good to bad. They can become infected quickly and if left can cause many issues that the health care team can not rectify.
One bad one is Diabetes and smoking
Diabetes and smoking is not one of the best combinations out there. Lets just go with that from the start.
Lets also smash a couple of smoking myths.
As fat is placed in your blood system the amount of blood going through is the same but it increases in pressure as there is a smaller area to get through. Layers of fat build up and a trickle of blood now gets through. With smoking it rapidly increases this system reducing much needed nutrients to your cells. When you add Diabetes and smoking then it just goes into overdrive. So the risks increase drastically.
Then you have increased risks
With just diabetes you have risks which are increased as you go down the body. So you are twice as likely to get a stroke, 4 times as likely to get a heart issue and 7 times more likely to get a foot problem. When you add in diabetes and smoking, you can double those rates, sometimes even triple them. So you are 14 or 21 times more likely to get a foot issue if you smoke and are Diabetic.
Diabetes and smoking is not the best combination…at all. If a patient can start to cut down on your smoking habit, then you can quit. It will be the best decision the patient has made.
You have probably heard so much about the problems that Diabetes can cause to Diabetic feet. “Amputations”, “my feet will fall off”, “I will never be able to wear any shoe again”- these are just some of the real comments made by my patients.
Diabetes has got the whole world in a strangle hold. You don’t know if to keep your feet off the ground all day, everyday or even dare to walk on the floor.
Healthcare professionals are getting on board now that the best treatment for diabetic foot ulcers is to treat the cause as well as treating the ulcer. It can be hard and long but now it is a joint process with you and the healthcare team working together.
According to HealthSystemTracker “since 1990 the risk of
complications have reduced depending upon the complication”. Why? Well
they found out that “preventive health care and controlling risk factors are among the reasons for a decline in diabetes complications.”
When you start really looking into Diabetes complications, you see a ray of light, you see that it doesn’t have to be all bad.
The American Academy of Family Physicians found something similar. Rates of people being diagnosed with Diabetes are increasing…BUT…there is a drop in complications…because: “Researchers pointed to possible reasons for the drop in diabetes-related complications, including “…patient education in disease management and clinical decision-making"
Up until recently there has only been 12 identifiers of how to protect your diabetic feet- to try and prevent amputations and ulcerations.
However I have actually found 25 different ways to prevent issues from occurring to your diabetic feet.
These range from:
Diabetes doesn’t have to scare you…you just need to be empowered to deal with whatever it throws at you, knowing you have done your best to protect your diabetic feet.
Click here to see how you can help your diabetic feet.
Download for free this page in PDF and read it off line here: Care For Your Diabetic Feet.
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