One of the key functions of the hormone insulin is to help transport sugar into the body’s cells. Diabetes Mellitus is a disorder defined by impaired insulin secretion and variable degrees of peripheral insulin resistance which can lead to hyperglycemia (too much glucose in the blood).
There are two main kinds of diabetes, Type 1 (insulin dependent) where there is no insulin secretion at all, and Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) where there is insufficient or ineffective insulin management in the body.
Early symptoms of this disease are; frequent thirst, frequent hunger, and frequent urination.
Possible latter stage complications of this disorder are vascular disease, peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) and a predisposition to infection. If you lose feeling in your feet, it is hard to detect when you may have a problem. Cracks, cuts, or ulcers may develop before you are aware they are happening and your ability to fight off infection may also be impaired.
Managing your blood glucose levels through medication and diet; quitting smoking and getting regular exercise is the key to staying healthy. See your family physician if you have any of these symptoms or have a family history of diabetes.
During Foot Health month (May) in Ontario the Ontario Society of Chiropodists wants us all to be aware of the following facts regarding diabetes:
· 2.3 million Canadians live with Diabetes today
· 345 000 Canadians will develop a Diabetic foot ulcer in their lifetime
· Every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, a limb is lost as a consequence of diabetes
· After an amputation, 50% of patients will have their other limb amputated within 2 years
· More than half of amputations may have been prevented by a Chiropodist’s treatment
· More than 4000 Canadians with Diabetes had a limb amputated in 2006
· The average cost of treating an infected Diabetic wound is $17 000
· The estimated cost to treat chronic leg ulcers in Ontario is $15,564,000 (2005)
· A North American child born in 2000 stands a 1 in 3 chance of developing Diabetes in his/her lifetime
· 3 out of 4 people will develop foot problems throughout their life
· The average person will walk further than the circumference of the earth in their lifetime
The evidence is clear that Diabetic foot ulcers and wounds that result in amputation may be prevented by early detection, prevention measures such as regular foot checks, stopping tobacco use and effective wound care.