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Newcastle Podiatry - Tuesday, May 09, 2017

About Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is an endocrine condition, whereby the body cannot utilise glucose normally. This is problematic as glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. It can be further categorised into Type 1 DM or Type 2 DM. Type 1 DM is less common and is generally of juvenile onset. The body, or more specifically, the pancreas does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls Blood Glucose Levels (BGL’s). Therefore, with a lack of insulin secretion BGL’s rise. Type 2 DM is more common and is generally regarded as being a lifestyle disease. The body is unable to use glucose effectively in the presence of insulin. Risk factors include being overweight or having a high body fat percentage (particularly abdominal region), having a sedentary lifestyle, age or having a genetic predisposition.

Diabetes relating to Podiatry
Diabetes has the potential to affect both nerves and blood vessels of the peripheries. There are complex processes that occur for this to happen. Simply, high BGL’s over a period can damage both nerves and blood vessels. Peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves) can be a complication of poorly controlled Diabetes. This becomes a significant risk factor for the patient in relation to ulceration. An ulcer is a wound on the skin which can take an elevated level of care and expertise to heal. Micro and macrovascular disease (damage to blood vessels) can be complications associated with diabetes. A lack of peripheral blood supply or circulation means that a wound may take longer to heal than it otherwise should. Infection risk therefore increases, which can ultimately further delay the healing process.

How do we help?
Foot disease has a prevalence of 1 in 4 diabetics and therefore it is tremendously important that diabetic patients receive the correct treatment and management. Our podiatrists perform a full neurovascular diabetes assessment of the lower limbs. It is a thorough assessment as well as an interesting educational piece for the patient. A report is sent to the GP of the patient following conclusion of the assessment. A multi-disciplinary approach has better outcomes and when in need patients are referred onto the correct specialists via their GP. It is important that patients are screened for their diabetes at least annually from a lower limb, podiatry perspective. Diabetics should be checking their feet daily for any abrasions or increased callosities, and should contact our podiatrist immediately should this occur.

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