Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eyes and Feet - Check, Please!

One part of my daughters' visit to our endocrinologist includes a foot exam.  While this is a consistent part of our endocrinology appointment, some pediatric endocrinologists never even look at the feet.  Because of this discrepancy in routine, I thought it might be a good idea to put a little reminder of what to look for on the blog.

From the American Diabetes Association Website:

Caring for Your Feet
  • Take care of your diabetes. Work with your health care team to keep your blood glucose in your target range.
  • Check your feet every day. Look at your bare feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help.
  • Be more active. Plan your physical activity program with your health team.
  • Ask your doctor about Medicare coverage for special shoes.
  • Wash your feet every day. Dry them carefully, especially between the toes.
  • Keep your skin soft and smooth. Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes.
  • If you can see and reach your toenails, trim them when needed. Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file.
  • Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.
  • Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don't put your feet into hot water. Test water before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
  • Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, two (2) or three (3) times a day. Don't cross your legs for long periods of time. Don't smoke.
  • Get started now. Begin taking good care of your feet today.  Set a time every day to check your feet.
I also want to add that my girls love having at-home-pedicures, so for all of those moms of daughters living with type 1 diabetes, this is a great way to carefully look over the piggies AND make them as cute as can be.  Bonus for our female endocrinologist that gets a kick out of seeing what colors and fashions that the girls are wearing:)  Yes, it is the little things that often make the long appointments fun!

Another part of my daughters' visit to the endocrinologist always includes a reminder to have another appointment for annual vision screening at our friendly Ophthalmologist office.  Over the years, I have adjusted the dates so that the annual visit occurs in the summer, when our schedule is at its most lazy (if that is even possible!).  It helps to take a little bit of the stress out of having to have just one more appointment.  After all, to my girls, it seems that we are constantly at the "doctors" office.

But to make that appointment happen, I have plan ahead as appointments for diabetic eye screening usually are more comprehensive and tend to take a little bit longer. 

From the American Diabetes Association:

When to See an Eye Care Professional

  • If you are between 10 and 29 years old and have had diabetes for at least 5 years, you should have an annual dilated eye exam. - Side note: Our endocrinologist recommended this as soon as both girls were diagnosed in an effort to get a baseline to work from.  Your endo may have a different idea.  It is great to discuss and decide what to do together.
  • If you are 30 or older, you should have an annual dilated eye exam, no matter how short a time you have had diabetes. More frequent exams may be needed if you have eye disease.
  • If you have any changes in your vision.
  • You should have a dilated eye exam if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. 
 After you receive the eye screening results, another good reminder is to either have the Ophthalmologist fax a copy directly to your endocrinologist or make you an extra copy to bring along to your next appointment.  By keeping this communication, you will be able to ensure that all caregivers are up to date on the latest developments and able to thwart any potential problems quickly and easily! 


Anonymous said...

My Amy ripped her toenail completley off after banging it on the edge of the fireplace. I brought her to our ER department because "diabetes and foot care" triggered in my mind and I was wondering if she would need antibiotics to prevent an infection. We waited 5 hours (I was stubborn and wouldn't leave), just be told "sure that will fall off on its own, take her home and go to bed". I reiterated that she had diabetes, and was told her sugars fine, no big deal. I never even thought to call the Endo on call to see what to do. I'll know next time (if there is one).

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

It is scary to see those little toes get so banged up and just like you, I want to make sure that we take good care of them. How frustrating to hear those doctors... grrrrrr. This is where we moms (and dads) really need to stick together! Sending hugs to Amy and her toesie.