November is Diabetes Awareness Month, which we’re pleased to observe every year at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center. But what exactly does it mean to be diabetes-aware? What does the medical profession hope to impart to all people during this “awareness” month? Board-certified podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm hopes that bringing awareness of the many aspects of this disease to our patients can help prevent it. For example:
- Be aware of your risk.
You’re at risk if you have a family history of diabetes, you’re obese, you don’t exercise, you don’t eat a balanced diet, are over 45 years old, have hypertension or high cholesterol, or are Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American or Pacific Islander.
- Be aware of the symptoms.
Some of the warning signs of diabetes are excessive hunger or thirst, frequent urination, extreme fatigue, blurred vision, and wounds that are slow to heal.
- Be aware of this crucial warning sign.
Prediabetes is high blood sugar that’s not quite high enough to be diabetes, but it’s awfully close. A diagnosis of prediabetes means that you need to take immediate action to avoid full-blown diabetes.
- Be aware of the myriad foot problems it can cause.
Most diabetics will eventually suffer loss of feeling in their feet from diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) and poor circulation. These two conditions put you at higher risk for foot problems such as fungal infections, overly dry skin, ingrown toenails, and weakened bones.
- Be aware of the many problems it causes that have nothing to do with your physical health.
Having diabetes often puts strains on your financial, psychological, and social health.
- Be aware that the most common type of diabetes can be prevented.
Type 2 diabetes is entirely preventable (which isn’t true of the autoimmune disease, Type 1). Keep your blood sugar levels in check by leading a healthy lifestyle: get plenty of exercise, maintain a healthy weight, and eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Finally, be aware that there’s a lot of misinformation out there about diabetes.
Beware of products that claim to be miracle cures or online medical advice from people who aren’t doctors. Ask your primary care physician about your risk for diabetes. Trust Dr. Wilhelm for excellent diabetic foot care in Fairfax County. Contact us with your questions and concerns or for an appointment. Our number in Centreville, Virginia is (703) 996-3000.