Why Diabetes Awareness Month is More Important Than Ever

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and November 14 is World Diabetes Day, held in honor of Dr. Frederick Banting, one of the people who discovered insulin. Diabetes strikes people of all ages and backgrounds, leading to several health concerns and conditions.

Did you know:

  • 1 in 11 Americans has diabetes today
  • Every 21 seconds, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes
  • 86 million Americans are at risk for diabetes

“Eyes on Diabetes” is the theme of World Diabetes Day 2016, which encourages screening so that the condition can be caught early to reduce serious or deadly complications. Some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Family history
  • Being overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Unhealthy diet

While diabetes can affect many parts of the body, it can have a very detrimental impact on the feet. People with diabetes must take special care of their feet to avoid complications. Here are tips from the American Diabetes Association on preventing serious foot problems:

  • Inspect your bare feet every day, checking for red spots, cuts, swelling and blisters. If you can’t see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help
  • Wash your feet every day and dry them extra-carefully, especially between the toes
  • Keep your skin smooth with skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes!
  • Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet
  • Check inside your shoes before wearing them to make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside
  • Protect your feet from hot and cold:

* Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement

* Don’t put your feet into hot water—test water before putting your feet in it

* Never use hot water bottles, heating pads or electric blankets—these can burn your feet

  • Keep the blood flowing to your feet:

* Put your feet up when sitting

* Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day

* Avoid crossing your legs

* Don’t smoke

  • If you injure your feet, seek care ASAP
  • Have your health care provider perform a complete foot exam at least once a year—and more often if you have foot problems
  • Remove your socks and shoes while waiting for your physical exam
  • See your health care provider if you have cuts or breaks in the skin, an ingrown toenail, if your foot changes color, shape, or just feels different (for example, becomes less sensitive or hurts)
  • If you can see and reach your toenails, trim them as needed—trim them straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file
  • Your health care provider can trim your corns or calluses, as well as your toenails if you cannot do so safely
  • Add a foot care specialist to your health care team
  • Work with your health care team to keep your blood glucose in your target range
  • Get and stay more active—plan your physical activity program with your heal team
  • Ask your doctor about Medicare diabetic for special inserts (orthotics) or shoes (which you can get at Foot Solutions!)

Check out the American Diabetes Association’s book, 21 Things You Need to Know About Diabetes and Your Feet.

And please remember: Foot Solutions can help you keep your feet healthy, with our exclusive, custom-made inserts and orthotics, high-quality footwear that is both fashionable and foot-friendly. Medicare beneficiaries may be eligible for diabetic shoes and inserts. Many Foot Solutions stores accept Medicare and may be able to help. Find your nearest store here.