I just finished reading an interesting article on limb salvage procedures reducing amputation rates in diabetes patients written by Dr Ramon Varcoe, a leading vascular surgeon at Sydney’s The Prince of Wales Hospital. Currently more than 4,400 diabetes-related amputations are performed at Australian Hospitals every year. Dr Varcoe states that 85% of these are preventable by using less invasive vascular surgery procedures. These new procedures have resulted in over a 60% decrease in amputations over an 8 year period.
What most impressed me when reading this article was several quotes he made in regards to changing our mindset towards improved education and preventative approaches. Dr Varcoe stated “ ….patients need more education, they need to understand the seriousness of the condition, they need to understand the importance of prevention…. The cornerstone of eliminating diabetes-related amputations is that prevention is much better than cure…”. He then goes on to say, “Anything we can do to prevent that (amputation) and allow people to maintain their independence is quite simply priceless.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I have worked with diabetes patients for 18 years and I have lost count of the amount of preventable amputations I have seen. Not only is prevention better than cure but KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! I believe that if you can understand about diabetes and how it can affect your body then you will have the power to take control of it and prevent future complications.
As part of the prevention strategy it is very important for every person with diabetes to have regular assessments with their GP, Optometrist, Dietician, Diabetes Educator and Podiatrist. At ProMed Podiatry we have developed an in-depth assessment and education process to help all our clients understand the effects of diabetes on the foot and lower limb as well as preventative strategies.
At ProMed Podiatry we provide the following diabetes related assessment:
- Medical, surgical and medication history.
- Vascular assessment including an Ankle brachial Index, Toe-brachial index and doppler assessment. Combined, these assessments help us to understand the pressure and flow of the circulation to your feet and toes.
- Neurological assessment. This assessment allows us to determine whether any sensation loss has occurred leading to increased risk of trauma and wounds.
- Dermatological assessment. This is checking the health of your skin and nails. Sometimes there can be issues which can increase your risk of wounds and infections. Such as curved nails, fungal infections, callous and corns.
- Biomechanical assessment. This is where we check your foot structure and walking style. As anomalies in both these areas can increase the risk of pressure related lesions and wounds.
- Footwear assessment. Footwear can be the best and the worst thing for diabetes complications. Inappropriate footwear can lead to pressure areas and wounds. Well fitted footwear provide support and protection avoiding many foot complications in the diabetic foot.
If you have not had a diabetes lower limb risk assessment recently or have any concerns regarding your feet, please contact our experienced Podiatrists to help you.
If you would like to read the full article it is available from Diabetes Australia Circle Magazine Autumn 2017 edition page 12.