According to the American Diabetes Association:
- 4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
- 1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, have diabetes.
- Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
Urgent facts like these are why November has been deemed National Diabetes Awareness Month. In particular, diabetes could put you at risk for serious foot problems.
Two common diabetes problems related to the feet:
- Peripheral Neuropathy: this is a loss of feeling in your feet. Imagine stepping on a sharp object and not realizing that you’ve injured your foot or that you could be developing an infection. This lack of sensitivity could lead to more damage.
- Peripheral Arterial Disease: this serious condition is commonly known as PAD, when the arteries in your legs become hardened or clogged. This reduces the flow of blood to your legs, feet and kidneys, which could increase your chances of heart attack or stroke.
The good news: many foot issues can be resolved if caught early. Check your feet every day (most people neglect to do this). See your doctor if you experience:
- redness, bruising or swelling
- cuts, cracks, peelings or sores
- infections of the skin or toenails
- blisters or ulcers
- calluses or corns
- general pain or unusual sensations
How therapeutic shoes can help:
- specially designed for superior comfort and mobility.
- seam-free, soft interior design offers the protection needed for diabetic and neuropathic feet.
- cushioning medical grade insoles reduce the pressure on the bottom of the foot.
- soft, non-binding uppers eliminate pressure points.
- extra-depth design offers a loose, comfortable fit.
- available in a wide variety of widths for a perfect fit.
More good news: The Therapeutic Shoe Bill, which allows Medicare to help cover the cost of shoes, shoe modifications and inserts for qualified patients who are enrolled in Medicare with diabetes.
The reason for the bill: to help prevent hospitalization and amputations, often the result of diabetes-related complications.
The result: over the past ten years, there has been a 65% decline in diabetes-related amputations. This can be attributed to more widespread use of therapeutic shoes, as well as improvement in overall diabetes management and awareness.
The bottom line: this month, spread the word (and forward this blog post) about this growing public health crisis. Foster awareness and education. And always protect and care for your feet.
Click here to find out more about how Orthofeet can help you and your feet in the fight against diabetes.