Nearly 90% of US Hispanics with diabetes or at risk for the condition have not seen a podiatrist, according to a study by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) about diabetic foot care. The findings are disturbing given that Hispanics are at higher risk for diabetes, and would be expected to benefit from the important role that podiatry plays in managing the disease.
APMA focused its annual national survey on US Hispanic adults to assess health care, diabetes and foot health issues. Twelve percent of Hispanics suffer from diabetes compared to 8% of the general population, and they face a 66% increased risk of developing diabetes compared to other ethnicities.
Expense is the most significant barrier to their seeking proper diabetic foot care given that US Hispanics are also less likely to have medical insurance. Nearly 75% of those surveyed who were affected by diabetes already knew that foot health is affected by the disease.
In other findings, 80% of all respondents complained of at least one foot ailment. The majority said they used over-the-counter products while 20% reported visiting a podiatrist. Those who had personal experience with a podiatrist were most likely to rate their care as very good or excellent in receiving a clear diagnosis and effective treatment.
The study raises concerns because specialized medical care is vital to assessing risks and managing the effects of diabetes. Ballwin podiatrists can often detect early signs of diabetes through foot examinations which have been proven to lower the chances of ulcers and amputations. In fact, APMA reports that foot examinations can reduce amputation rates by as much as 85%. Podiatrists can also educate patients on how to select and use appropriate footwear, and avoid traumatic events such as stubbing a toe which can lead to ulcers.
Diabetes is an important issue for everyone and especially for Hispanics. Contact our Ballwin podiatry office to schedule a consultation with the foot doctor, so you can learn how to protect your foot health and your overall wellbeing.