Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Pfizer's chief medical officer, joins The Doctors to explain that by simply paying closer attention to your feet, you could prevent serious long-term damage — or even amputation.
"There is something I want everybody to know," she says. "People with diabetes are twice as likely to have problems with their feet, and they can go on to develop nerve damage."
One form of nerve damage is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or DPN. It may cause foot ulcers, and if left untreated, may result in amputation.
"60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes actually have some form of nerve damage or what we call neuropathy," Dr. Lewis-Hall explains.
Poor blood flow exacerbates the problem, ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. It makes it harder for your body to heal and to fight off minor skin infections.
And if you have poor blood flow coupled with nerve damage, it may spell even worse trouble for your feet.
"So, it’s really important to understand the challenges of having diabetes," Dr. Lewis-Hall says. "Because in the U.S., sixty percent of all lower limb amputations not caused by injury are related to diabetes. Sixty percent."
Warning Signs of Nerve Damage:
• Tingling, like pins and needles
• Sensations of shock
• Sharp or stabbing pains
What You Can Do:
• Inspect your feet regularly.
• Dry your feet thoroughly.
• Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes.
For more information, visit the Get Healthy Stay Healthy website.