A Case of Diabetes Mellitus foot syndrome

Sometime around July last year, it was a sorry case of a middle aged man (Mr. Jerry, not real name for the sake of anonymity) in his 50s. He came in to the hospital with a large infected ulcer (wound) on his left foot, the foot was massively discolored, his toes had all turned black and there was widespread necrosis. After series of investigations, it was discovered that extensive damage has been done to his bone caused by the infected and poorly treated wound and he had totally lost feeling in his left foot. He was subsequently scheduled for amputation surgery, and he lost his left leg from below knee level. The big question is how did Mr. Jerry get to this point.

Mr. Jerry had been living with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus for about a decade, and despite several warnings from the doctors to be compliant with medications prescribed and lifestyle changes advised, he chose to continue living life on his own terms. He ate whatever he wished to eat in massive quantities, refused to engage in exercise, barely patronized fruits and vegetables and failed to keep his increasing weight and blood sugar level in check.

About three years earlier, he had a similar visit to the hospital, he had suffered injuries to the little toe on his right foot one day while walking around in his compound. A few days after the incident, the injury failed to heal and the toe had turned dark, he recalled not paying much attention to it as he thought it was a minor injury that would heal in no time, but when it worsened weeks after and the toe had turned black, he went to the hospital. He had the right toe amputated and was advised again by the doctors on the need to take care of his diabetes. It was just a toe, he said to himself and he continued his usual lifestyle.

It was early last year Mr. Jerry discovered he had a massive infected ulcer on his left foot. At this point, he feared the worst had finally come, as he had lost all sensations including pain in his left foot and there had been damage to his bone caused by the infected and poorly treated wound. He had his amputation in July, and with good medical care he recovered and is learning to walk again with prosthetics. Mr. Jerry has now made lifestyle changes and is compliant to medications, but if he had made this changes earlier when he was diagnosed, he most likely would not have lost his leg.

It is important to get screened for diabetes by getting your blood glucose level checked. Lifestyle changes and compliance to medication saves lives and cuts down on possible complications in patients diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. Examine the feet on a daily basis with a mirror, look from the top to the bottom of both feet and side to side, check in between toes also for any color changes or skin break. Comfortable and soft padded shoes should also be worn indoors and outdoors to prevent injuries to the foot.

In any event of unusual findings to the feet such as corns, calluses, toe nail infections, etc. seeking prompt medical attention goes a long way in saving life and keeping quality of life at its best.

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