In February this year, podiatrists all over the UK called for people with diabetes to undergo a foot check. The plea was a result of a three-month pilot foot pulse-test project aimed at increasing the diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation (AF), a common heart condition causing an irregular heart rate.
The condition displays no symptoms and those who go undiagnosed and without treatment, are at increased risk of suffering a stroke.
Linda Hicks, a Podiatrist at Country Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust in the UK, describes the ease and importance of making time for the screening:
“The feet can provide an excellent indication of a patients’ wider health and can be the first sign of a potentially serious problem that, if caught early, could save your life. With podiatry staff already taking pulses in patients’ feet, they are well placed to help identify patients with pulse irregularities. The podiatry staff I’ve worked with have been very tuned into the program and recognise it as their clinical responsibility to help spot AF.”
During the course of the pilot program, for every 500 patients who had their feet pulse checked, one new case of AF was identified.
Patients with irregularities, such as abnormal heartbeats, can have the condition quickly and painlessly diagnosed and treated, preventing much more complex and serious conditions down the track.
Dr Rahul Nayar, Chair of the Northern Diabetes Footcare Network, emphasises the significance of the foot screen based on the fact heart problems are two to three times more common in people with diabetes.
“People with diabetes are invited on an annual basis for routine health checks for their feet to ensure the nerves and blood vessels are healthy. This additional check for a person’s heart rhythm can performed at the same time. Heart problems are unfortunately more common in people with diabetes. Any simple process that picks up a potential problem quickly can save lives.”
ProMed Podiatrists are passionate about Diabetes foot care and prevention of diabetes related foot complications. Our team of highly trained and experienced Podiatrists provide a detailed diabetic foot assessment and will provide advice that helps you improve and maintain the health of your feet. It is crucial that people with diabetes have their feet checked regularly to understand the cause of risks, to both their feet and heart, as well as their current risk status in order to minimise complications.