While nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes – approximately 7 million undiagnosed – another 79 million 20 years of age and older have pre-diabetes. Not only do individuals with the disease have to be concerned with treating their hyperglycemia , they also are at heightened risk of other diseases due to their diabetes. For example, adults with diabetes maintain a risk of stroke and heart disease mortality rate that are each 2 to 4 times higher than in those without diabetes. The disease accounts for 44% of all new cases of kidney failure and is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults younger than 75 years.
What’s more, anywhere from 60-70% of patients with diabetes suffer mild to severe forms of neuropathy and more than 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes, at a rate of about 180 each day. One of the first lines of defense against amputation: regular foot checks by the patient and an annual comprehensive exam by the clinician to ascertain the condition of the foot and any problems that have developed since the last exam. Equally important in guarding against amputation or less severe podiatric concerns is to educate patients on how to conduct daily self-exams of and care for their feet.
Anne Greenberg, BS Medical Writer/Producer Health and Medical Multimedia Scottsdale, Arizona No commercial relationships to disclose
Mary P. Ettari, MPH, PA Physician Assistant Volunteers in Medicine Clinic Stuart, Florida Consultant for Johnson & Johnson
Marie-Michèle Léger, PA-C Director, Clinical Education American Academy of Physician Assistants Alexandria, Virginia Employee for AAPA
Anna E. Lindahl, RD, CDE, PA-C, MSHS Physician Assistant Medical Specialties of Northern Virginia Alexandria, Virginia No commercial relationships to disclose
Erika M. Schwartz, DPM, FACFAS Private Practice, Washington DC and Chevy Chase, MD President, American Association for Women Podiatrists No commercial relationships to disclose