Diabetes can affect more than the foods you eat – uncontrolled sugar levels can cause foot ulcers that, if infected, can lead to amputation.

“Up to 25% of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer, and more than half of those wounds will become infected,” noted Anthony Babigian, DPM, a podiatrist with Hartford HealthCare. “Hospitalization and specialized wound care is usually required. One in five foot ulcers will require amputation.

Dr. Babigian will address this serious problem – which is connected with 80% of the 120,000 non-traumatic amputations in the U.S. each year – in the free webinar “Diabetes and Your Feet.” The presentation, which will include a question and answer period with the doctor, will be on Sep. 22, from noon to 1 p.m.

Current situation

While Dr. Babigian notes that the rate of leg and foot amputations in diabetic patients over 40 dropped 65% between1996 and 2008, it might be “the calm before the storm.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said, estimates:

> Want more health news? Text MoreLife to 31996 to sign up for text alerts

Be alert

“Prevention is the key to finding problems with diabetes in the feet when they can be treated,” Dr. Babigian said.

Preventive steps can include:

  • Inspecting your feet daily, and reporting any sores or red spots to your healthcare provider.
  • Keeping feet clean, soft and smooth.
  • Keeping blood sugar numbers in the target range.
  • Exercising.
  • Keeping blood flowing to your feet by elevating them when you sit.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Wearing therapeutic shoes and socks if needed.