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Step Up Awareness After Diabetes Diagnosis

foot-xrayIf you are one of the 26 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, there are multiple issues that need to be monitored and managed.  Throughout November, National Diabetes Awareness Month, the members of the New York State Podiatric Medical Association are encouraging everyone who has received the diabetes diagnosis to watch for warning signs signaling serious complications.  The podiatrists’ message is that managing diabetes starts from the bottom up, with regular foot checks and monitoring.

The feet are often the first part of the body to reveal warning signs including redness, swelling or numbness.  Diabetic ulcerations are often one of the first indications of diabetes complications.  These ulcers can stem from a small cut or wound on the foot that is slow to heal.  If left untreated, these ulcers can become difficult to treat and can lead to one of the most dreaded outcomes of the disease, limb amputation.

According to Dr. Robert Russo, President of the New York State Podiatric Medical Association, which represents more than 1,200 Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), podiatrists are at the forefront of amputation prevention.  “Saving limbs and lives is the goal of every podiatrist who treats people with diabetes. Our podiatrist members are uniquely educated and qualified to treat the foot and ankle,” said Dr. Russo.

Two separate studies conducted by Thomson Reuters* and Duke University** demonstrated the value that podiatrists provide in the treatment and management of diabetes.  Most importantly, these groundbreaking studies concluded that regular podiatric visits help to prevent the most serious of diabetes complications.

According to the Thomson Reuters study, which involved over 450,000 patients, those who received podiatric care had approximately a 25% lower rate of amputation as compared to those who did not receive podiatric treatment.   The same group also had lower healthcare costs.  A second study conducted by Duke University concluded that seeing a podiatrist is protective of undergoing a lower extremity amputation.

Regular comprehensive foot exams, shoe gear inspections and treatment of diabetic wounds are critical concerns for people with this potentially devastating disease. Statistics show that there is a 50% mortality rate over five years for persons who have had an amputation.  And there is a 68% rate for amputation of the opposite extremity within that same five-year period.

If you have diabetes or are at risk for the disease, have a podiatrist check your feet at least twice a year for symptoms such as a loss of sensation, burning, or tingling.

By following your doctor’s recommendations and asking important questions about your care, you will fully understand what it takes to treat and control diabetes.

To find a foot specialist in your area, visit nyspma.org and click on the “find a podiatrist” button.

* For more information on the Thomson Reuters Healthcare Study visit: http://www.apma.org/study-summary.

 * *Duke Study: Sloan, F. A., Feinglos, M. N. and Grossman, D. S., RESEARCH ARTICLE: Receipt of Care and Reduction of Lower Extremity Amputations in a Nationally Representative Sample of US Elderly. Health Services Research, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2010.01157.x

 

The New York State Podiatric Medical Association is the largest statewide component of the American Podiatric Medical Association and its affiliated national network of certifying boards and professional colleges. Established in 1895, NYSPMA has over 1,200 members across 13 divisions in New York State. Visit www.nyspma.org for more information.  The Association is located at 1255 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029.

The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It is neither professional medical advice nor is it intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Without exception, the reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information in this article does not create a physician-patient relationship.

 

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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