On July 28 2008, on this website I wrote about Dialysis and the diabetic foot, with a description of a foot ulcer patient.
Last week I was invited to speak to patients of the Cape Town Dialysis Clinics about foot care; during my preparation I came across some startling evidence proving that dialysis is an independent risk factor for foot ulceration if you have diabetes and require dialysis.
We already know that impaired kidney function increases the risk of foot ulcers – also referred to in my 2008 Blog – but this 2010 research proves that:
If you have diabetes and are receiving dialysis, you are 5 times more likely to develop foot ulcers, compared to someone with diabetes who is not on dialysis.
Scary but true clear evidence from a study completed at Manchester UK.
The research showed that patients on dialysis have more nerve damage, circulatory problems and a history of foot ulcers and amputations.
There is a 25% lifetime risk of people with diabetes developing foot ulcers so the key issue whatever your status is prevention.
Diabetic foot ulcers have multiple causes, some are: external trauma from footwear, neuropathy, arterial damage, poor self-care, lack of access to care, poor treatment.
However, as with all research you must ask – “so what?” This patient group did not include any people of colour, so it may not apply totally to South African patients.
So what to do? our objective is always to PREVENT complications.
Every person with diabetes must have an ANNUAL FOOT EXAMINATION so that they understand their level of risk for developing foot complications.
in addition individual education on self management of their diabetes. this is a team effort, paying attention to cardio-vascular health, eyesight, footwear selection and fitting, foot biomechanics (and possibly insoles or orthotics), plus probably the most important factor – can you invest in the care being offered?
Always “take care of your pair”.