Beware of Foot Sores If You Have Diabetes

October 11th, 2013

Did you know that every thirty seconds someone suffering from diabetes loses a lower limb? What is it about diabetes that renders wounds to be so dangerous to the patient? The fact of the matter is even a minor wound, if you have diabetes, can become serious enough to warrant eventual amputation.

Diabetes clearly places patients at a risk of foot sores resulting in amputations that is ten times greater than non diabetics. Those statistics alone should carry a huge warning sign.

Why are diabetics at such risk?

Diabetics suffer from decreased blood flow. That means that any injuries require a longer healing time. Furthermore, many diabetics also have neuropathy. This condition makes it difficult to feel the pain from an injury which means the treatment needed is often postponed.

What's so special about your feet?

Your poor, old, tired feet are often neglected. However, a diabetic really can't afford this sort of negligence. Regular self-examination of your feet should be part of a preventive protocol.

Good news

The good news is that most amputations can be avoided. With proper foot care and timely wound treatment wounds can be kept in check and healed.

Taking care of your feet

Keeping your feet clean and dry are an important piece of a daily routine. That means the use of soap and water as well as thoroughly drying between your toes. If you struggle with dry, cracked feet then daily application of a foot cream is important. Any fungus, infection, athlete's foot or nails that appear to be changing in color and thickness should be examined by a podiatrist. Wearing sensible shoes with plenty of room for your feet and toes is just good common sense. Sure, you may not always look the most stylish when you're hanging out with your friends, but in the end you will save your feet.

Once again, most amputations can be avoided! That is the good news. However, due diligence is required in order to keep your feet as healthy as possible.

The Link between TB and diabetes

October 28th, 2013

There is a clear link between diabetes and TB. A person who has diabetes is at a much higher risk - almost 2 to 3 times higher of developing TB or Tuberculosis than others. It has also been noted that almost 10% of all Tuberculosis cases are linked with diabetes.

Double burden of the diseases globally

The increasing number of diabetes patients is a huge challenge in controlling TB. In most low and middle income countries such as regions in Asia and Africa where TB is a huge public health issue diabetic cases are increasing fast.

How to Treat and Screen both the diseases?

Diabetes weakens the immune system and affects the metabolic processes of the fat tissues - thereby making the body succumbs to the attack of infectious disease like TB. Study has shown that a patient with diabetes is more prone to fail treatment of TB and also is more likely to die during a treatment. Someone with diabetes who has a good control over the glucose levels are at a lesser risk to get TB. Also the treatment of TB helps to decrease the blood glucose levels in the body.

Studies to prove this

Megan Murray and Christie Jeon from the Harvard School of Public Health have been working on this subject for a while and have used data from the last 40 years to do 13 different detailed studies with more than 1.7 million people participating and 17698 cases of TB. Their in-depth study summarized that Diabetes mellitus greatly increases the risk of developing active tuberculosis.

Recently at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge there was a researcher’s symposium that aimed at sharing thoughts and studies to unravel the linkage. Many eminent speakers (like Melvin J., Sarah Fortune and L. Glimcher) from the Harvard School of Public Health opened by saying that the number one risk of developing Tuberculosis isn’t HIV but diabetes. The aim of this meet was to discuss the development of new age drugs and treatments to cure and control such diseases.

An effort to address this issue

A four year innovation and research project called the TANDEM with the aim to answer a lot of questions between the relationship of these two disease has been launched a few months back (April 2013). It is run by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The idea is to get different disciplinary partners and sites together in Romania, Indonesia, Peru and South Africa with labs in Netherlands, Romania, UK, South Africa and Germany. This project has been setup to find the best way to diagnose TB in diabetic patients and vice versa and also to analyse why some people with both the disease do not respond to treatments and whether genes are related to the linkage between these diseases.

How to manage both the diseases?

In countries like Egypt, Mexico, USA and Saudi Arabia where the number of diabetic cases is higher, diabetes is seen to be a significant contributor to TB case numbers.

Since it is clear that there is link, it becomes very important to manage the diseases effectively, by aiming to detect them in early stages so as to avoid serious complications, offering well guided public treatments and a good drug supply to cure them. These steps will aid in effective detection and treatment of diabetes as was done to globally control TB.