Friday, October 21, 2016

Common Foot Problems

The problem with foot problems is that they bother us every time we get up to walk! This column looks at some of the most common foot problems and their cause and treatment.

Often caused by ill-fitting shoes, hammertoes are typically the second, third or fourth toes which are crossed, bent in the middle of the toe joint, or pointing at an odd angle.  Because of the bent position, often hammertoes develop calluses and corns.  Well-fitted shoes will help relieve the pain of this condition.

A bunion is caused when the base of the big toe joint sticks out to the side, forcing the big toe to turn in.  Bunions can be caused by heredity, arthritis or trauma to the foot.  Bunions can be painful, especially if the shoes are too narrow in the toe area. Recommended treatment is surgery, after pain relievers and bunion pads no longer help.

Corns and calluses appear because of the toe or foot rubbing repeatedly against a shoe as you walk.  Corns generally appear on the tops and sides of the foot and toes, while calluses appear on the bottom of the foot or the sides.  These patches of dead skin can be painful. Treatment includes use of moleskin pads to relieve the irritation or trimming of the callus by a physician.

Claw toe causes all toes (except the big toe) to curl up at the joint where the foot and toes meet and curl downward at the middle joints.  Wearing too-small shoes or nerve damage (from diabetes or injury) can cause claw toes.  Calluses and corns often form because of the deformity of the foot.

Numbness, tingling or pain in the feet all may be symptoms of neuropathy.  Neuropathy can be caused by diabetes or injury to the feet: for example, by wearing poor-quality shoes while working on cement floors.

Topeka Pharmacy offers extra-depth shoes by Dr. Comfort that support and comfort your feet to help avoid problems which can occur from ill-fitting shoes or those which do not provide a good layer of cushioning.  Trained employees will measure your feet to ensure well-fitting shoes to help prevent as well as treat many of the problematic and serious foot conditions listed above. 

Medicare will help pay for shoes for a person with diabetes, if they meet the qualifying conditions.  Our shoes come with a 3 month guarantee! Call or stop by to find out how you can have healthier, happier feet.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Importance of Controlling Gestational Diabetes

What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational Diabetes (GD) is defined as higher than normal blood sugar levels which develop during pregnancy.  Gestational diabetes affects 7 to 18% of pregnancies in the US and is increasing in incidence. 

Those at higher risk for GD are women who have family members with diabetes, women who are overweight and those who do not exercise regularly.  There is also a higher risk if the pregnant woman is older than 35, has a history of GD with previous pregnancies or a history of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  Most women are tested for GD between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

What is the treatment for GD?
Most women are treated for GD with diet and exercise.  Treatment consists of:

  1. Testing blood sugar levels at home with a blood glucose meter.
  2. Controlling foods high in carbohydrate to avoid putting too much sugar into the bloodstream.
  3. Regular exercise to also help keep the blood sugar levels controlled.

What are the risks of not treating GD?
The importance of controlling blood sugar levels during Gestational Diabetes cannot be overstated.  Possible complications to the baby and mother of blood sugar levels that are too high include:

  • Large baby (over 9 lb) increases the risk for C-section delivery
  • Large baby also increases risk of birth trauma during regular delivery
  • Increased risk for jaundice
  • Increased risk for stillbirth
  • Increased risk for early term delivery and respiratory distress
  • Mothers have an increased risk to develop dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy.
  • Mothers have a 7 times increased risk to develop diabetes in the 5-10 years after pregnancy.

How about prevention of GD?
Prevention would be the best thing for both the mother and the baby’s health.  To help avoid developing GD, work at losing excess weight before you become pregnant.  Developing a habit of walking or biking 30 minutes daily will also decrease the risk of developing GD.
Losing weight during pregnancy, however, is not advised.  Ask your physician about appropriate weight gain goals during pregnancy.  Cutting back too far in carbs can also have negative effects.

How can I know how to eat well for GD?
A registered dietitian is the nutrition expert to go to for learning about counting carbs and controlling blood sugar levels.  Topeka Pharmacy’s Diabetes Education Program is available for classes on controlling Gestational Diabetes.  Local hospitals have diabetes instruction available as well. A healthy baby and peace of mind is worth it!