Every November the health care community at large educates the public on diabetes. In the United States the month of November is Diabetes Awareness month. According to the 2017 report from the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – there are 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population - have diabetes. Another 84.1 million Americans have prediabetes a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.
Diabetes can be accompanied by a handful of secondary complications that can range from mild to severe. The most common areas that can be affected by diabetes are the feet, the eyes, kidneys and skin. Diabetic patients can experience decreased sensation – neuropathy – in their feet. This can lead to a decrease in the ability to recognize injury and can lead to infections, ulcers and possibly amputation. Each year over half of all amputations in the United States, most of which involve the lower extremity, are caused by complications due to diabetes. Thankfully, diabetes linked amputations have been on the decline.
If you have a family history of diabetes or any of the following risk factors, take the opportunity this month to be tested. Diabetes is diagnosed by a fasting blood glucose level. The test is simple and pain-free. Risk factors for diabetes include the following: family history of diabetes, obesity, inactivity, increased age, history of gestational diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
While we focus on those who currently suffer from this disease, there is good news for the 84.1 million who are prediabetic. There are ways to prevent diabetes that include healthy lifestyle modifications. Proper diet, exercise and weight loss can bring a person on the verge of a diabetes diagnosis back to a good bill of health.
The best outcome for handing diabetes is working as a team with your providers. Diabetic patients are encouraged to visit a podiatrist once a year for an annual foot examination. If any other secondary complications develop such and peripheral neuropathy or peripheral vascular disease, the visits will be more frequent.
To learn more about diabetes or find free screenings in your area go to www.diabetes.org.
If your doctor has diagnosed you having diabetes and need a podiatrist to be on your team, please call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale Arizona.