Knowledge of diabetic foot ulcer Is the Key
When you were first diagnosed with diabetes, were you given instructions on how to take care of your feet on a daily basis? Chances are that you were given limited information in this very important area.
The most common reason is because you and your health care professional were mainly focused on getting your blood sugar down to an acceptable range. I am a health care professional working in the diabetes education field and foot care is one area that I really stress when I talk to my clients with diabetes.
Why? You may ask, because I have seen the damaging effects of poor foot care. These damaging effects include chronic ulcers of the feet that can lead to disability and in some cases, amputation. My goal is to educate as many people as I can about how to care for your feet. The more you know about foot care, the less chances you will have you feet developing foot ulcers now or in the future. This article is part of a series of information articles for people living with diabetes.
Occurrence of Diabetic Foot Ulcer
Ulcers of the feet occur in approximately 15% of people with diabetes. Diabetic foot ulcer related amputations account for 50 – 60% of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations. Education is the key to reducing the number of diabetes foot ulcer related amputations. Why do diabetes foot ulcers happen and what are the risk factors?
Poor circulation in the legs and feet may lead to a condition called motor neuropathy. Motor neuropathy results in weakness and wasting of the muscles of the foot. If the muscles of the foot are weak the structure of the foot will change.
Foot deformities such as hammertoes, claw toes foot drop, etc lead to a change in pressure distribution at the bottom of the feet during standing and walking and may contribute to the development of diabetes foot ulcers. In combination with decreased sensation and swelling of the foot due to peripheral vascular disease, the risk for serious complications is high. The risk of foot amputation is higher for people with diabetes than for any other group.
Here are the factors that increase the risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer:
– Age >40 years
– Diabetes > 10 years
– High blood pressure
– Previous ulcers of the feet
– Decreased sensitivity (neuropathy)
– Structural deformity
– Peripheral vascular disease
– Foot infection
– Inability to perform self-foot care and/or limited accessibility to foot care services
– Kidney transplant
– Blood sugars that do not stay in range.
Diabetes is the most common reason for lower-extremity amputation in North America, but it may be preventable with good foot-care practices. Speak to your health care professional as to what you can do to lower your risk of developing diabetes foot ulcers.
I hope that this article has been informative and has provided you with information regarding the risk factors in developing diabetes foot ulcers. There are steps that you can take to reduce your risk. Learn about them so that you will be able to live your life to the fullest.
Lee Dunn is a healthcare professional working in the Diabetes Education field. She has created web resources to educate those that are looking for answers to their questions on diabetes. For a sample of her information pages, check out: http://www.squidoo.com/diabetesfootulcer.
Lee also publishes a free diabetes information newsletter. To sign up for her free newsletter, follow this link to her sign-up page: http://bestdiabetesonline.com/Contact_us.html
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