In 2014, the number of adults around the world with diabetes had quadrupled from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million. About 90% of these people have type 2 diabetes; one of the leading causes of kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputations, heart attack, and stroke. Fewer than 50% of people with type 2 diabetes control their blood glucose levels adequately by changing their diet or exercise regime, or by taking drugs.
Appearing in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association proposed that surgery involving the manipulation of the stomach or intestine be considered as a standard treatment option for appropriate candidates. This development comes after multiple clinical trials proved that gastrointestinal surgery can improve blood glucose levels more effectively than any lifestyle or pharmaceutical intervention, and even lead to long-term remission of the disease. So it seems that the future of diabetes isn’t so grim, there is a glimmer of hope for the possible elimination of this chronic disease.
For now, with no immediate cure available, diabetic patients are faced with managing this disease and all its debilitating consequences. One of the most debilitating side effects are ulcers and wounds on the feet. Poor management of ulcers and foot wounds in diabetic patients are the leading cause of lower limb amputation in the world. Over 80% of diabetics ignore the first signs of wounds and ulcers. Foot care is one of the most neglected aspects of diabetic care, says Dr. Ravul Jindal, Director of Vascular Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Punjab, India.
According to Dr. John Eliades, the medical director at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Wound Healing Services, amputation is necessary when a foot ulcer develops into a non-healing wound. A foot ulcer is an open sore and looks like a red crater on the foot. Typically, foot ulcers occur on the side or bottom of the feet, are usually very painful, and result in the loss of feeling in the feet, a condition known as neuropathy. Neuropathy is a disease that affects the nervous system that causes the loss of feelings. Patients with diabetes when prone to foot damage, usually result in amputation. Amputation due to diabetic foot can be prevented with proper education and timely treatment. Preventive care is as always the best care.
According to the Center for Disease Control, a daily foot exam reduces a patient with diabetes chances of needing an amputation by 45-85 %. Preventive action against foot ulcers and wounds starts with regular foot exams. The importance of a daily foot exam is that many people are not aware of their foot problems, especially when considering the amount of time we stand on a regular basis. Some guidelines in preventive actions patients can take:
- Wash feet and dry after especially between toes.
- Don’t soak feet in just water because skill will get dry. Soak feet with Epsom Salt and Warm Water.