BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 25 -- Did you know diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic foot amputations each year?
The feet often show the first signs of more severe medical conditions, such as diabetes, but they often are overlooked by primary health care physicians. The American Podiatric Medical Association's "Knock Your Socks Off" campaign encourages patients to ask their primary healthcare physician to examine their feet as part of their regular check-up.
"All too often, people have symptoms of diabetes, such as numbness in the feet, and don't even know it," says APMA President Dr. Lloyd Smith. "Early detection is paramount and something as simple as taking your shoes and socks off for a foot screening could assist in the diagnosis of diabetes earlier."
Close to 5.2 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and don't even know it, according to the American Diabetes Association. With foot disease as the most common complication of diabetes leading to hospitalization, the American Podiatric Medical Association suggests looking for these foot related diabetes warning signs:
* Cold to the touch due to a lack of blood circulation
Out of the 13 million people with diabetes in the U.S., 60 to 70 percent have mild to severe forms of diabetic nerve damage, which often includes impaired sensation or pain in the feet and hands. For this very reason, The American Podiatric Medical Association has selected the "Knock Your Socks Off" campaign to raise awareness about the importance of having feet, like any other part of the body, checked regularly.