Diabetes: Why bother screening when my feet are fine?

Let's take a detour for a moment.

Imagine a news headline: "Disease hospitalises 17,000, causes 4,400 amputations!"

Horrifying, isn't it? We would demand that something be done, a cure found, it must be stopped.

This is the current reality of Diabetic Foot Disease in Australia. Each year, about 17 thousand hospitalisations, and nearly four and a half thousand amputations. This is estimated to cost the healthcare system about - are you ready for it? - about 600 million dollars. When you add on costs for care before the amputation, and rehabilitation afterwards, this then comes to a staggering $875 million!

And this is before we count the personal cost. Not only can diabetic foot ulcers cause inconvenience, impair mobility, and prevent people working, people with diabetic foot ulcers have morbidity (sickness) and mortality (death) rates as high as some more aggressive forms of cancer.

Are you appalled yet? Well, here is some good news. Around 85% of diabetic foot amputations are preventable - if detected early. Up to 90% of complications are manageable - if detected early.

Now, early can mean something very different in someone with a Low Risk foot to someone with a High Risk foot. So how do you know how vigilant you have to be? Is my foot Low Risk, At Risk, or High Risk? Well, this is where screening comes in. While some changes, such as misshapen joints, can be very obvious, dangerous changes such as nerve damage or circulation problems can be all but invisible to the untrained. It is these changes, or combinations thereof, that determine how much Risk is associated with a particular foot.

However, there is more good news here: your podiatrist is really well trained. University trained, in fact, to find any bit of risk in the shape of your foot, the nerves in your foot, the circulation, the way you walk or your footwear. We can find most things that might cause a problem, so that you KNOW that it might cause a problem. This allows you to monitor these potential problems and nip anything in the bud before you become a statistic.

It is recommended that most diabetic feet are screened every 6 to 12 months, even if they are fine.

So book your thorough Diabetic Foot check today, and help make more good news!