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St. Michael’s Diabetes Clinic promotes foot care awareness

Toronto, November 24, 2011

By Leslie Shepherd

The Diabetes Care Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital performed a "keep on your feet" blitz today to promote diabetes awareness month.

Each patient who had an appointment at the Diabetes Clinic between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. was asked about their foot care by a nurse who also examined their feet. A chiropodist reviewed any feet that needed further assessments.

The staff wore "keep on your feet" T- shirts to highlight the educational message.

Diabetes affects the circulation and immune system, which in turn impairs the body’s ability to heal itself. Over time, diabetes can damage sensory nerves, especially in the hands and feet. As a result, people with diabetes are less likely to feel a foot injury, such as a blister or cut. The Canadian Diabetes Association warns that even small foot injuries can quickly become infected, potentially leading to serious complications, if unnoticed or untreated.

"People with diabetes have a 15 times greater risk of requiring lower extremity amputation than those without diabetes," said Jacqueline Chen, a clinical nurse specialist. "Furthermore, an amputation increases and individual's mortality rate significantly. As health-care professionals, we play a significant role in educating people with diabetes about proper self-care measures and, we must be diligent in identifying those patients at risk for foot care complications".

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Center, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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