Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Keeping Feet Healthy

by Tara Dairman

As you may know, people with diabetes have good reason to take good care of their feet. Having diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels that serve the feet and legs, which can lead to loss of sensation and reduced blood circulation, raising the risk of foot ulcers and even the need for amputation. However, you can significantly reduce your personal risk of foot problems with proper foot care. Here are some resources that can help you learn how to do just that.

Diabetes and feet
Inspecting your feet daily, treating minor problems early, and having your feet examined regularly by a professional can go a long way toward preventing serious complications. These resources can help you learn about the specifics of foot care when you have diabetes.

This page of the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Web site features information about the “Diabetes Is A Family Affair” campaign, which is meant to increase public awareness of the importance of regular foot screenings during medical checkups for people with diabetes. Information available on the Web site includes a “Diabetes Foot Facts” sheet, a list of frequently asked questions about diabetes and the feet, a quiz, and a list of questions to ask your primary-care doctor and your podiatrist. Some of these resources are available in Spanish as well.

These articles about foot care from the Diabetes Self-Management magazine archives can help you learn how to inspect your feet, care for them, evaluate footwear, find the right kind of foot-care specialist, and choose drugstore products that are appropriate to use on your feet when you have diabetes.

This informational booklet and Web page from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse answers such questions as “How can diabetes hurt my feet?” and “What are common diabetes foot problems?” Featuring illustrations and easy-to-read language, this resource also provides instructions for foot care, guidance for bringing up foot problems at doctor visits, and Web sites and phone numbers for sources of more information about diabetes care.

You can find this page on the Internet at www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/complications_feet/index.htm or order free single copies of this and other diabetes booklets by calling NDIC at (800) 860-8747, faxing them at (703) 738-4929, e-mailing them at ndic@info.niddk.nih.gov, or writing them at National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, 1 Information Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3560.

Information about PAD
Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, occurs when arteries in the legs become narrowed or clogged with fatty plaque, resulting in reduced blood flow to the legs and feet. It can cause muscle pain and cramping when walking and can lead to foot ulcers and amputation. PAD is 20 times more common in people with diabetes than the rest of the population. These resources can help people at risk prevent the condition or manage it if it occurs.

The PAD Coalition is an alliance of health organizations that has the goal of raising public awareness about PAD. Click on “Patient Education” (under “Resources”) for documents featuring “Life Saving Tips” on topics such as smoking and PAD, foot care and PAD, managing diabetes and PAD, and special treatments for PAD. Some of the documents have worksheets to fill in with important numbers and treatment goals.

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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