- Maureen Duffy B.A.Hons.,A.C.I.M.,U.K.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious chronic condition, where the body is unable to regulate blood glucose levels due to insufficient glucose-regulating hormone called insulin. The UAE has a high incidence of diabetes, with a growth in particular of Type 2 Diabetes. Unlike Type 1, Type 2 develops gradually over time and can be linked to poor diet and obesity. According to a joint WHO and UAE Ministry of Health survey in 2001, 19.6% of the UAEs population suffered from diabetes. 24% of nationals were found to be affected, with 17.4% of expatriates. Although many serious complications, such as kidney failure, can affect individuals with diabetes, it is the complications of the foot or eye that take the greatest toll.
How does Diabetes affect the feet?
Regular visits to the ophthalmologist (eyes) and podiatrist (feet) are essential to spot changes early and to manage diabetes properly.
Foot ulcers and infections can be a common diabetic complication if diabetes is not diagnosed and managed early. Diabetes is the biggest single cause of amputations around the world. It has also been shown that countries with most podiatrists have the lowest levels of amputations, whereas those with fewest podiatrists have the highest levels of amputations.
What happens during a Diabetic Foot Assessment?
The Podiatrist will ask you for some information regarding your daily routines, such as your diet, exercise routine, and medical information since your last visit. The Podiatrist will also carry out a range of painless tests to find out if there are any changes in circulation or nerve systems (neuropathy), using temperature, vibration and pressure point tests amongst others.
Treatment will be advised and given if there are any anomalies or areas of pain in your feet.
It is essential that Diabetes is is controlled to maintain general well-being. This will help prevent sensatory and circulatory problems with your feet.
Diabetics should have a Foot and Eye check at least every year. This will help find any anomalies with your Diabetes before it affects your organs or cause any permanent damage to your body. We check your feet because they are the furthest extremity of your body and can show changes in your condition early. Your eyes are the smallest organ. Therefore the furthest and smallest usually are affected first and that is where we can help.
In the event that we find any areas of concern in your feet, we will always refer you to your Diabetologist to have your levels and medications checked. Times of stress, lack of exercise, smoking and of course dietary changes can affect your Diabetes. We take many factors into your Diabetic Foot Assessment.
Is there anything I should do in between visits?
Look out for odd or new sensations in your feet, however minor. Hypersensitivity, sharp pains, cramps or numbness, redness or trauma (cuts, blisters etc) should be taken seriously – visit your Podiatrist or Diabetologist immediately. Check your feet, including the soles and between the toes daily. If you have a diminished sensation, it is actually very difficult to know that they are getting less sensitive. That is why it is important to visually check your feet daily, to wear well-fitting comfortable shoes, and to wash and dry feet daily, using an emollient foot cream if the skin is dry. Do not use sharp instruments to remove hard skin/corns or chemical pads to ‘home treat’ verrucae as these can cause trauma to the feet. Your Podiatrist can perform regular chiropody maintenance for your feet to remove hard skin/corns, correctly cut toenails and treat any fungal infections.
Contact Us to arrange your Diabetic Assessment, or ask your Doctor to refer you to us.