You may know that diabetes affects your kidneys and eyesight. Did you know the disease can affect your feet, too? April is National Foot Health Awareness Month, and is an excellent time to take control of every aspect of managing your diabetes — especially foot health.
Regular foot exams can prevent such complications as infection, foot ulcers, gangrene, and in some cases, amputation. More than 60 percent of non-accidental lower-limb amputations occur among people with diabetes.

A study in the January 2004 issue of “Diabetes Care” illustrates how patients with diabetes tend to ignore their foot health. More than 3,500 patients with type 2 diabetes were interviewed about their knowledge of foot health and diabetes. Although 72 percent of the patients had received some form of foot health education, only 49 percent reported foot exams in the last year. Thirty-three percent of patients said they never checked their feet for complications.

“As warm weather approaches, spring is a great time to start thinking about steps you can take to preserve your foot health,” said Patty Latham, M.S., R.D., a registered dietician at Roche Diagnostics. “Patients with diabetes should always keep their feet clean and dry, and avoid wearing footwear that could cause foot injuries. Basic foot maintenance, such as trimming toenails and removing corns and calluses, will help ensure the health of your feet. And, of course, make sure you see a podiatrist or your doctor regularly.”

There are warning signs that could lead to possible foot complications. If you notice any of the following, you should contact your physician immediately:

* Changes in the color of the skin on your feet

* An elevation in skin temperature

* Pain in your leg(s)

* Swelling in the foot and/or ankle,

* Slow-healing open sores on your feet

* Dry cracks in the skin, especially around the heel

* Ingrown toenails; fungus

* Bleeding corns and calluses

Take the right path and care for your feet today!

For more tips on foot health, visit http://www.accu-chek.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about this article or Patty Latham, please call (312) 856-8809.

Information for this article comes from the following sources: Complications of Diabetes in the United States, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Physician Attitudes Toward Foot Care Education and Foot Examination and their Correlation with Patient Practice; Diabetes Care 2004 Jan. 1; 27(1); and Diabetes: Startling Statistics, American Podiatric Medical Association.