In an effort to reduce the number of amputations due to diabetic ulcers, the Lions Club purchased 155 mirrors to make it easier to help those with the disease check their feet daily.

The mirrors were given to Marshall Medical Centers’ dieticians to distribute to patients.

“We hope this will improve the lives of 155 patients and help them avoid amputations,” Amy McDonald, of the Lions Club, said. “We want to help prevent amputations.”

McDonald demonstrated how some of the mirrors have telescoping handles to help those with limited mobility better see the bottoms of their feet. Others were handheld with wide mirrors.

Sheri Gaskin, dietician at Marshall South and herself a lifelong diabetic, said it was a great idea.

“That’s something we don’t always think about,” she said. “We all do education but we don’t always think about checking the feet.”

Marshall North dietician and RN Julie Drzewiecki, who conducts regular educational classes for diabetics, praised the Lions Club for purchasing the mirrors. Research shows daily feet checks result in far fewer amputations.

“Diabetes affects the feet because the disease affects nerves,” she said. “Fifty percent of foot ulcers can be prevented.”

The mirror project stemmed from a meeting last year with Drzewiecki, who will become the Lions’ Diabetic Chair for North Alabama.

“Diabetes has been a mission of the Guntersville Club for the past year,” Lions Club President Larry Bagley said.

Each mirror has a specially-made decal with the Lions Club logo and two feet imprints to help remind patients to look at their feet.

Penny Roney of the Alabama Department of Public Health recommended Marshall Medical’s diabetes program be modeled across the state.

“I haven’t seen another one like it,” she said.

A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that occurs in approximately 15% of patients with diabetes and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot. Of those who develop a foot ulcer, 6% will be hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complication.

Diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the United States, and approximately 14-24% of patients with diabetes who develop a foot ulcer will require an amputation. Foot ulceration precedes 85% of diabetes-related amputations. Research has shown that development of a foot ulcer is preventable.

For information on how to receive a mirror or about diabetes management classes, call Julie Drzewiecki at 256-571-8052 or 256-753-8052 for Arab area residents.

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