The "D" in the "ABCs" of Diabetes

Aside from the ABCs of diabetes regulation, people living with diabetes should consider the "D"—diabetic foot ulcers, or DFUs. DFUs are wounds that can develop on the feet of people with diabetes. They are often difficult to heal and may become chronic in nature.1 Up to 25% of people living with diabetes experience a DFU in their lifetime.2 DFUs can be slow to heal and may cause serious problems, but prevention can begin today by following these five easy steps from HealTogether.com.

1) The Key to DFU Prevention Begins With Your ABCs3
By maintaining levels for three key diabetic tests, people living with diabetes can lead healthy, full lives.


A is for A1c: Your A1c check tells you your average blood sugar for the past 2-3 months.4
B is for blood pressure: Your blood pressure numbers tell you the force of blood inside your blood vessels. When your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder.5
C is for cholesterol: Your cholesterol numbers tell you about the amount of fat in your blood. Some kinds, like HDL cholesterol, help protect your heart. Others, like LDL cholesterol, can clog your blood vessels and may lead to heart disease.6

2) Talk to Your Doctor
Your doctor can help combat DFUs in several ways. Your physician can provide a yearly foot exam as well as consultations on any existing cuts or abrasions. Your doctor can also suggest footwear to prevent any rubbing or pressure caused by foot deformities such as bunions or calluses.7 Here are some easy questions to ask your doctor if you're not sure where to begin.

3) Protect Your Feet!
Diabetes can cause changes in the skin on your feet. Complications, such as neuropathy, may result in the failure of the nerves that control the oil and moisture in your feet. At times your feet may become very dry, and the skin may even peel and crack. Washing and drying your feet daily will help ward off infection and moisturizer can help prevent cracking.8 Circulation is also important to DFU prevention. Walking exercises will circulate blood flow to the legs and feet.9

4) Be Proactive
Watch your feet for cuts, bruises, spots, blisters, or fungus. Use a mirror so you can see all parts of your feet. If you do find a sore, have it checked. Even though some sores may not hurt, they should still be examined by a physician.10 Part of being proactive about your health is also being informed. Visit www.HealTogether.com for up-to-date information on DFUs, as well as advice on the best ways to take care of your feet.

5) Seek Out a Wound Care Specialist
A wound care specialist is a healthcare provider who focuses on evaluating and treating non-healing wounds. These specialists can help patients determine the best treatment for their DFU. When conventional treatments such as dressings and ointments are not enough to heal a wound, wound care specialists often have access to the most up-to-date wound care technology and the training to use it. Talk to your doctor about seeing a wound care specialist, or click here to find a specialist near you.

This article is courtesy of HealTogether, a national awareness program dedicated to promoting proper foot care for people with diabetes, educating individuals. about diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), and encouraging those with DFUs to talk to their doctors about seeing a wound care specialist.

 

Last Modified Date: December 18, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.
Sources
  1. American Diabetes Association. Living With Diabetes. Foot Complications. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications. Accessed Sept 11, 2013
  2. American Diabetes Association. Living With Diabetes. Foot Complications. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications. Accessed Sept 11, 2013
  3. American Diabetes Association. Living With Diabetes. Foot Complications. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications. Accessed Sept 11, 2013
  4. American Diabetes Association. Living With Diabetes. Foot Care. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/foot-care.html. Accessed September 11, 2013.
  5. American Diabetes Association. Living With Diabetes. Foot Complications. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications. Accessed Sept 11, 2013
  6. American Diabetes Association. Living With Diabetes. Complications. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/heart-disease/healthy-abcs/healthy-abcs.html. Accessed Sept 11, 2013.
  7. American Diabetes Association. Living With Diabetes. Complications. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/heart-disease/healthy-abcs/healthy-abcs.html. Accessed Sept 11, 2013.
  8. American Diabetes Association. Living With Diabetes. Complications. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/heart-disease/healthy-abcs/healthy-abcs.html. Accessed Sept 11, 2013.
  9. American Diabetes Association. Living With Diabetes. Complications. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/heart-disease/healthy-abcs/healthy-abcs.html. Accessed Sept 11, 2013.
  10. Singh N, Armstrong DG, Lipsky BA. Preventing Foot Ulcers in Patients with Diabetes. J Amer Med Assoc. 2005;293:217-28.
  11. Maderal A, Vivas A, Zwick T, et al. Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Evaluation and Management. Hospital Practice. 2012; 40(3), 102-115.

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