Foot ulcers are dangerous for people living with diabetes and can lead to death.

Endocrinologist Cautions Against Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Dr. Afokoghene Isiavwe, a Lagos-based physician and endocrinologist, is warning Nigerians about the dangers of foot ulcers in persons living with diabetes mellitus and urging for regular screening for this as well as other related complications among persons living with diabetes.

Isiavwe, who is the Medical Director of Rainbow Specialist Medical Centre, Lagos, warned that foot ulcers are dangerous in people living with diabetes and that poorly managed diabetes-related complications could lead to limb amputation or even death.

The medic, however, noted that as part of its free screening programme, the hospital, which focuses on the management of diabetes and other endocrine and metabolism conditions, is offering free diabetes foot screenings to people with diabetes mellitus out of concern about the prevalence of diabetes-related complications linked to poorly managed diabetes, especially the diabetes mellitus foot syndrome.

In a statement, Isiavwe declared that free screenings for diabetes foot ulcers are offered every Tuesday in August at the hospital’s facilities in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, even as she remarked that diabetes foot syndrome is a preventable condition that, sadly, still daily claims the limbs and lives of affected persons.

According to the statement, the prevalence of diabetes mellitus foot increases where diabetes mellitus is poorly managed, in addition to poor foot care habits and knowledge.

It reads in part: “Foot ulcers are dangerous in people living with diabetes, as over 80 percent of diabetic foot amputations are preceded by foot ulcers. This is why a well-cared-for foot in a person living with diabetes is unlikely to be amputated.

“Primary prevention from regular foot screening by knowledgeable health care workers leads to early detection of the ‘high-risk’ diabetes foot. This appropriate intervention at an early stage can prevent its progression to a foot ulcer.

“In a resource-poor setting like ours, with many individuals living with diabetes still unable to access basic medications and specialist services, primary prevention of foot ulcers can never be overemphasised. This is why we are inviting people living with diabetes to take advantage of this free diabetes foot screening and education programme and come for free diabetes foot screening.

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“Members of the public are also encouraged to participate in the foot screening programme as this could be an opportunity to know their diabetes status. This is important, considering the fact that half of people living with diabetes are not aware they have it.”

Stating the reason for the free screening exercise, Isiavwe said the hospital was motivated by the challenges being faced today by people living with diabetes to access their daily diabetes medications and medical supplies.

She added that many people still pay out of pocket for their medications and, in recent times, have found themselves in the difficult situation of having to choose between buying their medications or buying food for their families.

“Obviously, many people living with diabetes are no longer able to control their condition, and this will further reduce the statistics to less than 20 percent of Nigerians living with diabetes that are achieving good blood sugar control, even after diagnosis.

“With poor blood sugar control comes diabetes complications like diabetic foot ulcerations and amputations, in addition to multi-system complications, not sparing any organ, from kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, heart disease, and stroke, among others.”

“To say the least, these complications are better prevented, as the cost of managing them is quite enormous and unaffordable to most Nigerians. Early detection through regular foot screening and education on good foot care habits thus remains the best available preventive measure.”

In collaboration with the Podiatry Institute USA, the World Walk Foundation Jamaican chapter, and the World Diabetes Foundation, the Rainbow Specialist Medical Centre in Lagos has been heavily involved in diabetes education workshops for persons living with diabetes as well as capacity-building workshops for Nigerian healthcare workers in the state on diabetes foot care.