Did you know that the World Health Organisation reports that over 400 million people are living with diabetes worldwide as of 2015. Of these 400 million people, 90% have type II diabetes.
Being diagnosed with diabetes means you have too much sugar circulating in your blood. Which, in turn, is not being taken up by the cells that need it. This can be due to a lack of insulin production, or faulty insulin. The increased blood sugar levels present can damage the arteries and nerves in the body. This damage commonly occurs in the peripheral arteries and nerves of the feet. If left untreated Peripheral Neuropathy can lead to ulceration of the feet.
Diabetes Risk Assessment
- Neurological Sensations – Inability to feel sensations means you cannot protect yourself from injury
- Presence Of Arterial Disease – Adequate blood flow to the feet allows the body to efficiently repair damage. Disease of the arteries will impede this healing process.
- Muscle Atrophy/ Strength Testing – Damaged blood vessels cannot supply enough oxygen to nerves that innervate muscles. Your podiatrist can assess the strength of the muscles in your feet.
- Glycaemic Control – Increased blood sugar levels present can damage the arteries and nerves of the feet and lower leg.
Musculoskeletal – Deformities, prominent lumps and bumps which may receive too much pressure can lead to ulceration and eventually amputation.
- Dermatological – checking the condition of skin is important. Skin acts as a defence barrier to the outside world.
These assessments include the use of a Doppler which is an ultrasound machine used to listen to the arteries in the feet. Doppler ultrasound which can provide an audible sound and visual printout of the waveforms showing regularity, strength and volume of blood flow in the feet.
What Should I Do?
Assessments performed by your Podiatrist are basic, non-invasive tests that are then forwarded onto your GP. Your GP may then decide to refer you on for further assessment and/or intervention with a vascular specialist, neurologist etc.
You may also be eligible for a Chronic Disease Management plan. This would entitle you to up to five Medicare subsidised Podiatry appointments in a calendar year at our clinic. If this is the case, your GP will arrange the paperwork to be sent to our clinic, usually via fax at 9894 0242.
By identifying people at risk of foot problems and managing the risk factors, lower extremity amputations and foot ulcers can be prevented. If you have been putting off getting your feet checked now is the time!