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Chances are you or someone you know is Diabetic; one in three North Americans is Diabetic. November is National Diabetes Month and in our practice we have been discussing our “Got Sugar” campaign all month long. What exactly does “Got Sugar” mean? Most of our patients, including the newly diagnosed Diabetics present to our office talking about sugar problems. The old age saying “too much of anything is not a good thing” fits this situation perfectly. We all need sugar in our lives; not speaking in terms of flavor, but function. Blood sugar equates to blood glucose which helps fuel our bodies and the function of our organs, body regulation and natural processes.
Your blood sugar is regulated by insulin which is a hormone (produced in the pancreas) in our bodies that helps break down the sugar, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables that we eat. Diabetes is a disease where the body either does not have enough insulin or is not using it properly. What does blood sugar have to do with your feet….everything.
Sugar DiabetesToo much glucose in your body directly affects your eyes, kidneys, stomach, skin, immune function, bladder, blood vessels and nerves. Thickened, painful, dry skin, numbness, tingling, burning, weakness, and cramping are symptoms that usually walk into our office as complications of blood sugar that is not controlled properly. What should your numbers be? A fasting blood glucose level taken after not eating for at least eight hours should be between 95-115mg/dl. If your blood glucose level is measured after eating your numbers should be less than 200mg/dl. If your bloodwork is performed and there is a suspicion that you may be Diabetic than a Hemoglobin A1c will be ordered by your medical doctor. The Hemoglobin A1c measures your blood glucose over a three month period and gives us the best idea of how your body is regulating its levels. The goal here is less than 6%.
If you are one of the many today (young or old) that is diagnosed it is not the end of the world. It is where the conversation begins. Diabetes can be controlled with nutrition, exercise and sometimes medications. Awareness is the best type of medicine and in this specific case, prevention is the best defense.
Insurance companies allow preventative care for Diabetic patients (whether Type 1 or 2) and this includes an evaluation of your circulation, sensation, and muscle strength. A Diabetic Foot evaluation in your Podiatrist’s chair also will include the treatment of painful nails, callouses, corns and in some cases wounds. Over sixty percent of Diabetics will suffer from nerve damage due to increased blood glucose called Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. Most Diabetics are hospitalized due to this type of nerve damage which can result in wounds and amputations of digits or limbs.
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