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Story | Community
18 August 2021

Woman who loses toes to diabetes offers advice to others with condition

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QF member highlights importance of foot care in people with diabetes

When Umm Muhammed learned that she had type 2 diabetes at the age of 20, she did not think that 20 years later she would need to amputate her toes –especially since she had made such drastic changes to her lifestyle.

I was very committed to taking insulin needles on time, and I became more interested in exercising and eating healthy food, but I did not pay much attention to the necessity of not wearing tight shoes

Umm Muhammed

“I was very committed to taking insulin on time, and I became interested in exercising and eating well,” says Umm Muhammed says. “But I did not pay attention to the necessity of not wearing tight shoes.”

At a wedding a few years ago, Muhammed made the decision to wear narrow, restricting shoes. Later in the evening, she noticed she’d lost feeling in the tips of toes, so decided to schedule a visit to her diabetic foot care clinic. It was here that her doctor noticed a small cut on the toes of her right foot.

Dina Elsayed, foot care specialist at QDA.

Muhammed says, “At the beginning, I was prescribed topical ointments to treat the wound, but my condition worsened, and one of my toes – on the right foot – started to darken. The doctor told me that it needed to be amputated because the blood was not reaching it.”

The doctor transferred her to the surgery department to amputate the injured toe. But after being in hospital for a month, the infection – which turned out to be gangrene – had started to spread across her foot and to an adjacent toe, which led to a second amputation.

Umm Muhammed lost a further two toes, as they also became infected. Eventually, her situation did start to improve slowly, and the infection was brought under control. But at the expense of four toes – she now only has her big toe left on her right foot.

To those who are living with diabetes, Umm Muhammed says: “We, as patients with diabetes, must prioritize our health – through food, exercise, and reducing bad health habits, as neglect can lead to complications. Like losing limbs or appendages.”

Dina Elsayed checking the feet of a patient and giving education.

Dina Elsayed, foot care specialist at QDA, a member of Qatar Foundation, stressed the importance of people with diabetes avoiding tight, narrow shoes, as this can lead to small wounds and infections, which – like Umm Muhammed – can have disastrous consequences.

It is important for people with diabetes, especially those with diabetic foot, to check their feet every day – wash and dry them well, and to be careful when trimming the nails

Dina El-Sayed

“It is important for people with diabetes, especially those with diabetic foot, to check their feet every day – wash and dry them well, and to be careful when trimming the nails.

“People with diabetic feet should wear comfortable shoes and socks all the time, for protection. It is also very important to maintain blood flow to the feet, and to visit your doctor regularly for foot examinations.”

For more information, please visit: www.qda.org.qa

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