What’s the one piece of advice all diabetics should listen to?
We asked our Panel of Experts… Here’s what they had to say:
“Focus on the good-for-you foods you want to include in your diet, rather than the things you want to limit.”
Cheryl Meyer, Dietician.
“Make small changes to your diet that could bring about a bigger change in your health. Swap white bread for low GI bread, for example, and leave off the butter.”
Faaiza Paruk, Dietician.
“Exercising, keeping to the right BMI and eating a good diabetic diet are all essential because these factors determine the amount of medication you need. It’s also important not to smoke, to take your medication properly and to visit your doctor regularly.”
Dr. Joel Dave, Endocrinologist.
“Ask yourself: ‘Have I got diabetic retinopathy: Yes or No?’ The only way you can know that answer is if someone competent and trained has looked at your retina and given you the answer. So visit an ophthalmologist every year!”
Dr. Dale Harrison, Ophthalmologist.
“Always use a good diabetic foot cream. Examine your feet every day, especially if you have neuropathy. Check your shoes with your hands before you put them on to be sure there isn’t anything in them. Ensure your shoes fit properly and have enough space so that there are no pressure areas that could cause blisters or wounds.”
Andy Blecher, Podiatrist.
“Go to a qualified podiatrist for a thorough Diabetic Foot Assessment at least once a year. Ask questions and be informed.”
Anette Thompson, Podiatrist.
Any advice to add?
Foot problems are one of the things that those of us with diabetes need to watch out for. We’ve got some top tips to keep a healthy spring in your step.
- People with diabetes should have their feet examined by their doctor or podiatrist at least once a year, with thorough washing and daily inspections a part of everyone’s diabetes management plan. Be careful to wash and dry properly between the toes, and at the first sign of any sores, blisters and cracks see a podiatrist immediately.
- When cutting your toenails, be sure to cut straight across, without following the curve, and file the edges to smooth them. Be careful not to cut your nails too short. This will prevent ingrown toenails.
- Avoid walking barefoot and have any corns or calluses cut by a medical professional – don’t do it yourself.
- Don’t use hot water bottles or heaters near your feet.
- Moisturize daily to avoid any dryness. Even mild cracking can lead to ulceration. Avoid putting cream between the toes, as this encourages fungal infections.
- Nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels can cause numbness in the feet. Together with lower production of sweat and oils that lubricate the feet, this can cause increased pressure on the skin, joints and bones of the feet, which in turn causes pain, redness, swelling, sores and ulcers to develop.
- Foot ulcers are reported to affect 1 in 4 people with diabetes in their lifetime. Constant foot care is vital in preventing and treating complications like these.
- Foot ulcers can be stubborn to heal and, in the worst cases, lead to serious lower body infection, disability and even amputation. Contact your podiatrist at the first sign of any problem.
- How do you recognize a foot ulcer? They are often not very painful, and can occur just about anywhere on the foot. When calluses are not removed correctly and often enough, it causes bleeding under the callus, which is how the ulcer begins.
- When it comes to footwear, choose comfort above all else. A good pair of shoes will go miles towards keeping your feet in their best condition.