Monday, August 21, 2006

Diabetic Foot Care Prevents Medical Complications

The Monitor - Prevention best medicine with diabetic foot care

"I was working in a bowling alley, and my leg swelled up one day," Jose O. Guerra, 57 yr old diabetic states, "I was standing up and walking too much, and I noticed my leg swelled up and got blackish from the knee down. I went to see my family doctor and he told me it had to be amputated because I got gangrene. They amputated it three inches below the left knee."

Guerra's story is one in thousands, because patients with advanced diabetes can develop several conditions and ailments as the disease progresses:

  • Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) - (bad circulation) Diabetics can develop clogged or blocked arteries, which means blood has difficulty reaching the body's extremities. Without sufficient amounts of blood, parts of your body's tissue die, leading to infection.
  • Neuropathy - (nerve damage) - Diabetics can develop a loss of sensation in their limbs, and when the foot gets damaged it might be overlooked, allowing a more serious infection to occur.

"Nine out of 10 amputations are a result of microtrauma," McAllen podiatrist Javier Cavasos said. "It comes from foot deformations and it comes from repetitive injury."

Even small problems that would not injure a non-diabetic person, such as hammertoe deformities or a long walk, could potentially harm an advanced diabetic, because they can lead to microtrauma like corns, calluses or blisters, which can break down into foot ulcers and become infected. However, diabetic preventative measures to ensure these microtraumas do not occur. Specially fitted diabetic shoes can be custom-fitted with insoles molded to a person's foot, reducing the risk of injury. Using awareness and having the issue treated in its beginning stages rather than when it's at the point that the foot has to be amputated. For more information on diabetic shoes visit American Diabetes Services.

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