Submitted by Kay Searfoss, RD, CDE
LCO Community Health Center
November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, which is dedicated to informing people of the negative impact that diabetes can have on vision. November is also National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. Our staff here at the LCO Community Health Center would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to take care of your diabetes “from head to toe”. Join us for a National Diabetes Month and Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month event on Thursday, November 21 from 9:00 am –noon and 1:00- 3:00 pm in the Elder Care area at the Health Center.
People with diabetes are at lifelong risk for eye and vision problems, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and blindness. Good control of glucose and blood pressure helps to prevent onset and reduce progression of diabetic retinopathy. In addition, early detection, monitoring, and treatment of retinopathy are essential to reducing the risk of blindness.
A retinal examination (i.e., a dilated fundus examination by an eye care professional or retinal imaging with interpretation by a qualified, experienced reader) is used to detect retinopathy. Although serious vision loss due to diabetes can nearly be eliminated through timely diagnosis and treatment, many people neglect to have a yearly eye exam or retinal imaging scan.
The LCO Community Health Center offers quick, painless retinopathy screenings with our Optoscan technology. The exam takes about 5 minutes and does not require using drops to dilate your eyes. It is recommended that all persons with diabetes get this exam at least once per year.
It is also important for people with diabetes to take care of your toes and feet. People with diabetes are more likely to have foot problems because diabetes can damage your nerves and lessen blood flow to your feet. If you have diabetes, take care of your feet by:
o Inspecting your feet daily looking for redness, swelling, cuts, blisters and nail problems. If you have any concerns, seek medical care to prevent more-serious conditions from developing.
o When washing your feet, use lukewarm water and dry gently, especially between the toes.
o Wear clean, dry socks and properly fitting shoes.
o Don't go barefoot.
o Trim your toenails carefully. Cut the nails straight across. You might want to have this task done professionally, especially if you have thickened nails, vision impairment or numbness in your feet.
o Have your feet examined by your health care provider at least once per year. Take your shoes and socks off at your next doctor’s visit as a reminder.
Join us on Thursday, November 21 from 9:00 am to noon and 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the Elder Care Area to take care of your health from head to toe. Drop in for memory screens, healthy snacks and recipes, diabetes and health information, door prizes, foot lotion samples and more! This is also an opportunity for those with diabetes to have annual retinopathy screening and diabetic foot exams if needed. And don’t forget your flu shot….. Persons with diabetes are at higher risk for serious complications and hospitalization if they develop the flu. If you wish to make an appointment for retinopathy screening or foot exam, please call 715-638-5115. Drop in appointments available as time permits. Call 715-638-5115 or 715-638-5153 with questions. Hope to see you there!