Don’t Be like Deen – Change your Habits and Change your Diabetes Destiny!

After Chef Paula Deen finally announced her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus that she had been hiding for two years this past week, there has been an outcry from people across Columbus and the country. Deen promoted to everyone who watched her cooking shows the exact lifestyle that leads to the development of type 2 diabetes. Now, if Deen and fans of her cooking who also have type 2 Diabetes don’t change their ways, many severe complications of diabetes, including foot amputation are likely to be the next course.

Type 2 diabetes typically develops later in life and as a result of an underlying genetic defect involving the beta cells of the pancreas that causes them to produce insufficient amounts of insulin, along with a resistance of other tissues to the minimal insulin that is secreted. Three major risk factors for diabetes development that Paula Deen possessed are being over age 50, obesity and a family history of diabetes. While age and family history are uncontrollable, obesity and overeating are easily modifiable with a little effort. Lifestyle modifications to reduce obesity and thus the risk for diabetes type 2 can include exercising, dieting, and reducing fat intake. These simple lifestyle modifications have been shown to prevent or delay type 2 in about 60% of people at risk. In severely obese patients, gastric bypass surgery has even been shown to reverse the diagnosis of diabetes.

Foot problems represent a major complication in diabetic patients, with 25% of hospital stays for diabetic patients being foot related. The neuropathy, or nerve disease that occurs in diabetes affects the longest nerves first; which is why loss of sensation commonly begins in the feet. Aside from losing sensation completely, patients may experience painful tingling or burning in their feet and legs especially when sitting or resting. With loss of innervation can also come motor weakness and wasting away of the muscles in the feet. The combination of motor and sensory loss can lead to ulcers, infections of those ulcers, and Charcot foot. All three of these conditions are debilitating and need to be examined and treated by your podiatrist. Preventing ulcers and their subsequent infection can mean saving not only the leg from amputation, but also the patient’s life.

For Paula Deen and others with type 2, it is important to remember that they can greatly improve their condition and possibly even reverse it by cutting back on the butter and sweet cream, developing a regular exercise plan, and regularly self-examining their feet as they go.

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington. If you would like to see a podiatrist in Dublin, Ohio near Tuttle Crossing, call 614-885-3338 for an appointment.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia