Diabetic foot care is a vital consideration for patients suffering from the disease, since complications from diabetes often show up in the lower limbs. In fact, these complications are the leading cause of non-traumatic lower-limb amputation in the United States.
The bottom line? See your podiatrist regularly.
The study examined the medical records of tens of thousands of diabetes patients and found that those who saw their podiatrist regularly had a nearly 29% lower risk of amputation and a 24% lower risk of hospitalization. The reason: your podiatrist will spot complications from diabetes early enough to keep them under control if you have a regular exam.
Obviously, losing a foot is a devastating — and often preventable — consequence of the disease. Not only is it a life-altering event for the patient, but the Amputee Coalition of America estimates these amputations cost our health care system an unnecessary $3 Billion per year.
Dr. Vickie R. Driver, MS, DPM presented the study in July during the American Podiatric Medical Association’s (APMA) 98th Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle.
“The results of this study undeniably support visits to a podiatrist being critical to a diabetes patient’s health and well being,” said APMA member Dr. Driver. “No longer can care by a podiatrist be considered optional for those with diabetes, and the earlier a podiatrist is included in the diabetes management team, the better quality of life for the patient and greater health-care cost savings for all involved. This study clearly allows us to understand both the clinical and economic value of a podiatrist, in the team approach to saving diabetic patients’ feet.”