Event to Focus on Foot and Tooth Health
RANDOLPH – For most, feet and teeth are essential to daily living and must be kept healthy, but a diabetes diagnosis can mean added foot and dental problems and thus a need for extra vigilance.
Gifford Medical Center’s seventh annual free Diabetes Education Expo on March 23 focuses on foot and teeth health for diabetes, with special presentations from Randolph dentist Dr. John Lansky and Gifford podiatrist Dr. Kevin McNamara.
“So many people don’t realize the importance of particularly dental health when it comes to diabetes care. High blood glucose can lead to more bacteria on your teeth, increasing one’s chance of developing tooth and gum disease,” says Gifford certified diabetes educator Jennifer Stratton. “We’re hoping to bring dental care to the forefront in this year’s expo and talk about another important topic: feet.”
Long-time high blood glucose damages one’s feet in three ways: it can damage nerves (causing a lack of feeling or neuropathy), can affect blood flow, and can depress the immune system.
“The diabetic triad is what makes feet particularly at risk in diabetes,” says Dr. McNamara, who has decades of experience in foot care and also holds a special board certification in the treatment of wounds. “Peripheral neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease and a suppressed immune system: diabetes makes one more prone to these three things.”
“Diabetes is the number one underlying reason for amputations of the foot, many of which are probably preventable,” he adds.
Good blood sugar control, particularly early in one’s disease; wound prevention; and wound care are keys to helping prevent neuropathy and serious foot problems, like infection.
Nationally, 25.8 million children and adults, or nearly 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
In Vermont, the disease affects more than 55,000 people, according to the Department of Health.
Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from the body not producing or improperly using insulin – the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy for daily living.
To remain healthy, diabetics must take an active role in managing their diabetes. The free expo is one way Gifford helps people with diabetes find the right tools to manage their disease and stay healthy.
The expo is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Randolph medical center and organized by the hospital’s Diabetes Clinic.
Seating is limited and registration is required. Call the Diabetes Clinic at (802) 728-7100 by March 16 to register, including for the free lunch.
Learn more about Gifford Medical Center and its services for diabetics online at www.giffordmed.org.
9-10 a.m. Vendor booths open
10-11 a.m. Gifford’s professional chefs lead a cooking demonstration
11 a.m. Randolph dentist Dr. John Lansky discusses teeth and diabetes
Noon Lunch (vendor booths open)
1 p.m. Gifford podiatrist Dr. Kevin McNamara talks about foot health
2 p.m. Raffle drawings