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Your Feet and Diabetes

October 24, 2017

Approximately 30 million people in the U.S. are living with diabetes, a chronic condition that causes a person's blood glucose or sugar levels to rise higher than normal. If left untreated, unhealthy blood sugar levels can lead to serious complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, infections and the development of chronic wounds, especially on the feet.

In preparation for Diabetes Awareness Month in November, Salem Regional Medical Center's (SRMC) Wound Healing Center is working to educate community members about the importance of taking good care of their feet.

"While foot health is important for everyone, it is especially so for those living with diabetes," said Dawn Thomas, RN, BSN, Program Director of SRMC's Wound Healing Center. "People with diabetes can develop different types of foot problems, which usually occur as a result of nerve damage, known as neuropathy. In addition, poor blood flow or changes in the shape of the feet or toes may also cause complications. Among all diabetics, an estimated 15% will experience a foot ulcer at some time in their lives, which can lead to infections, non-healing wounds or amputation of the affected limb without the proper treatment."

According to Thomas, practicing daily foot care is one of the best ways people with diabetes can prevent a diabetic foot ulcer. Tips for regular diabetes foot care include:

Checking feet for any breaks in the skin, paying special attention to the heels and between the toes
Moisturizing feet, but avoiding spreading lotion in the spaces between the toes
Never going barefoot and wearing shoes that fit properly
Asking the doctor to check feet at every office visit

"Stopping smoking and engaging in regular physical activity may also help to increase circulation in the feet, which can reduce the risk of developing complications and promote healing. Patients should always check with their health care team first, before starting a new exercise program," she advised.

The specially-trained physicians and clinical staff at SRMC's Wound Healing Center are highly experienced in treating and healing acute, chronic or non-healing wounds, including those associated with conditions like diabetes. The center is recognized by Healogics, Inc. as a "Center of Excellence" and "Center of Distinction" for its continued clinical excellence in wound healing and superior patient satisfaction rates.

For more information about the special care provided at SRMC's Wound Healing Center, call 330-332-7415 or visit www.salemregional.com.
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