By Nrupa Shah
September 03, 2014
Category: Diabetes

Firefighters are the type of people, in my opinion, who fear nothing. They are the type of people who put others before themselves in the midst of chaos to make sure everyone is safe. Of all the good firefighters do, though, sometimes they are the ones that need to be saved. Captain Nolan Meinardus of the Fort Smith Fire Dept. in Arkansas knows first-hand what it’s like to be the one being saved.

In March, he (31 years old) had his leg amputated--and it all started because of a minor cut on the bottom of his toe from him stepping on a toy car. If you haven’t guessed already, Capt. Nolan has diabetes. Patients with diabetes are at increased risk for ulcer formation and subsequent infection due to ulcers. This is why it is imperative that our diabetic patients get monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual check-ups (depending on the severity of their condition). The basis of a patient’s check-up is determined by a number of factors: 1) whether there is loss of protective sensation (LOPS); 2) does the patient present with neuropathy, a deformity and/or peripheral arterial disease (PAD); and 3) has the patient had a previous ulcer or amputation. These three categories are what are called a ‘Risk Categorization System’ and is used to determine how often a diabetic patient should be seen in the office.

Capt. Meinardus acquired the cut on his foot nine years ago and was battling with a severe ulcer/infection until March of this year when he decided to have his leg amputated. The choices were to amputate and live a healthy life or risk fighting an infection and potentially die. Firefighters do fear nothing, but nothing is more fearful than the thought of losing your family and friends especially from a little cut on the bottom of your foot. Diabetes, although very manageable, is a serious issue that needs to be cared for appropriately by the proper team of health care providers at proper time intervals.

If you think you may have one or more of these conditions, please do not hesitate to call your local podiatrists at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care located in Monroe and Edison, NJ. Controlling your sugar and diet are two extremely important--if not, most important--aspects of managing diabetes, but patients often neglect to see their podiatrist for routine therapeutic foot care which may also be one of the most important aspects of diabetes management.

By Nrupa Shah