Diabetic Foot Ulcers are Scarier Than Sharks

As a podiatrist, one of the most dangerous and scary conditions I deal with is a diabetic foot ulcer. There are around 30 million Americans with diabetes and every one of them has a 25% chance of developing a foot ulcer in their lifetime. Once you have a diabetic foot ulcer you are in a medical crisis. I know it is not often represented this way. Most of my patients don't understand the grave nature of a diabetic foot ulcer. Many factors contribute to this underestimation of the morbidity and mortality of a diabetic foot ulcer. Fear, denial, lack of understanding and the failure of the medical community to explain how deadly serious this condition is, have all added up to a severe lack of urgency. I hate scare tactics. Our news media uses fear to get our attention about all kinds of very unlikely events, such as shark attacks. Diabetes, however, is very real. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the US. While sharks accounted for just 6 deaths in 2015, diabetes accounted for over 75,000! In fact, if you have a diabetic foot ulcer you have a 5 year mortality rate of 45%. This means that almost half the people with a diabetic foot ulcer today will have passed away by 2021. Prostate cancer, breast cancer and Hodgkin's lymphoma, all have much better 5 year survival rates. Think about that, forms of cancer are actually a better diagnosis than a diabetic foot ulcer. Why am I telling you this? I promise my motives are not to ruin your day. Quite the opposite. I want to sound the warning bell. You probably don't have to worry too much about the sharks in the water, but your foot ulcer or your mom's foot ulcer is deadly serious and by ignoring it or delaying care you make yourself or your loved one that much more vulnerable to this devastating disease. They say a ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nowhere is that adage more appropriate than with diabetic foot ulcers. If you or someone you love is among the 30 million American diabetics, treat your disease proactively and aggressively. Manage your blood sugar with diet and exercise. Get help from your primary care doctor or an endocrinologist...or both. Get your feet checked by a podiatrist, often. Wear properly fit shoes and inspect your feet daily. If you do have a diabetic foot ulcer take it very seriously. Listen to your doctor. It is much more dangerous than a shark. Committed to your health, Dr. Craig Conti Sarasota Foot Care Center http://www.sarasotafootcarecenter.com

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