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Examining the Medical, Drug, and Work Loss Costs of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Healthcare cost in America has been a hot topic in the news for the past several years, as our nation’s leaders look at ways to curb expenses and make top-level care more affordable for the masses. At the very least, the economic burden of diabetes-related complications should remain a motivator for individuals with the disease to strive toward careful health management.

Did you know that the average cost to heal a diabetic foot ulcer is $8,000? For a wound that has become infected, this number skyrockets up to $17,000, according to a report published in Clinical Diabetes, the official journal of the American Diabetes Association. Beyond the medical bills, the cost of diabetic foot ulcers to society is astronomical.

diabetic foot ulcers

Diabetic Foot Ulcers result from a complex interaction of multiple risk factors.

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Diabetic Foot Care Toolbox: 10 Helpful Accessories to Prevent Complications

“The truly scary thing about diabetic neuropathy is a 10-letter word we usually associate with horrific accidents or Civil War battlefields—amputation,” writes Patrick J. Skerett for the Harvard Health Blog. He explains that seemingly innocuous blisters, cuts, or sores can become infected wounds that do not heal. To prevent serious foot complications, diabetics can use the following 10 diabetic foot care accessories to make life easier.

diabetes complications

Foot problems are one of the many potential complications diabetics face.
Image Source: TrialX.com

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Smart New Tools Improve the Outcome for Those with Diabetic Foot

Writing for Nursing In Practice magazine, Margaret Stubbs shares her experience with two diabetic patients who recently endured amputation surgeries. “One joined the practice having already had four toes on his right foot amputated, and a subsequent postoperative infection,” she writes. The other patient recently had two toes amputated. “It somehow can feel as though we have failed,” she says.

But how can nursing staff prevent diabetic foot amputations and improve outcomes, she wonders? Compliance and vigilance at home are two big issues. We find that, if given easy-to-use tools — such as the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer and smartphone monitoring apps — diabetics can greatly reduce the likelihood that they’ll encounter complications requiring major surgery.

diabetes foot bacteria

A UV shoe sanitizer protects the feet from bacteria colonies.
Image Source: SteriShoe.com

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Obesity and Foot Care: How Does Being Overweight Affect My Feet?

Being overweight or obese is difficult enough — never mind all the foot problems that come along with it! A study published in the journal Arthritis Care Research found that 51% of those surveyed who said their foot health was only “fair” or “poor” were obese. Increasing body mass index is “strongly associated with foot pain and disability,” the authors concluded.  Not only that, but overweight and obese populations may find it difficult to reach their feet to care for them properly, which leads to a whole set of foot hygiene issues.

obesity feet

More than half of the people who are obese also suffer from foot problems. Image Source: AdvancedFootCareClinic.Blogspot.com

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10 Must-Read Foot Care Tips For Diabetics

Everyone needs to take care of their feet, and this is doubly true if you suffer from diabetes.  Diabetics have a lot to worry about in terms of daily insulin and other dietary maintenance, so it is easy to let foot health slip between the cracks.  If you or someone you know has diabetes, these are 10 must-read tips.

1. Examine your feet daily.

Decreased blood flow and high blood sugars lead diabetics to develop neuropathy — a lack of feeling — in the feet. You may not feel that blister, but it could be getting infected and causing real problems. That’s why it’s essential that you look for visual cues of trouble, rather than relying on your pain sensors.

diabetes feet

Image Source: HealthCentral.com

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FDA Cracks Down On Illegal Diabetic Foot Care Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned 15 companies to reform false advertising claims on diabetes treatment products or face prosecution, according to Gant Daily NewsUnfortunately, many of the products on the market promise much and deliver little. There are many diabetic foot care products that are not FDA-approved, but continue to sell to desperate consumers who want a quick fix for their feet. The FDA has been cracking down on rogue internet pharmacies peddling cheap, unregulated drugs online, says Medical Daily NewsAs of June 2013, more than 1,600 online pharmacies in an organized crime network were shut down.

diabetic foot cream

Image Source: Navarro.com

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Best iPad & iPhone Apps for Diabetes Foot Health

While the debate rages on whether tablets will overtake the PC and laptops once and for all, more and more people continue to buy tablets and iPhones so they can have valuable information at their fingertips whenever and wherever they need it. For diabetics, iPads and iPhones can be excellent tools for managing foot health, as emergencies or urgent questions arise.

download apps

Image Source: PodiatryToday.com

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Common Diabetes Foot Problems

There are two most common diabetes foot problems: neuropathy and vascular disease. Uncontrolled diabetes can damage the nerves, making a person unable to feel heat, cold or pain. This can be dangerous because a small cut or sore can become infected, without the diabetic noticing it until a festering ulcer has appeared.

Diabetes also affects blood flow and healing times. Peripheral vascular disease refers to poor circulation in the arms and legs. People who develop infections that do not heal due to poor circulation are at risk for developing gangrene — tissue death — which is a top cause for the 56,000+ people with diabetes who have amputations done each year. The good news is that more than half of these amputations can be avoided through proper diabetic foot care.

peripheral arterial disease

Image Source: Jacksonville.com

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Diabetic Foot Care: Top 3 Causes of Amputations

We all know gifted jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917 – 1996) for her beautiful voice in songs like “Mac the Knife,” “If You Can’t Sing It, You’ll Have To Swing It” and “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” Over the course of her 59-year recording career, Ella sold 40 million albums, won 14 Grammy Awards and received honorary medals from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

What you may not know about the “First Lady of Song” is that she had both her legs amputated below the knee due to complications from diabetes in 1993. She died just three short years later at age 79.

Ella Fitzgerald is a famous face among the 65,700 or so nontraumatic lower limb amputations that occur each year as a complication of diabetes. More often than not, these amputations were preventable, so let’s take a look at the top causes of amputations in diabetics.

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