“Make sure to take your medication, visit your family doctor, maintain a healthy diet, keep up regular exercise, see the podiatrist, see the dentist and the eye doctor.”
For some people, this good advice is more easily said than done. For those managing diabetes, keeping up good habits is especially important. According to the American Diabetes Association, someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 23 seconds. Diabetes doubles the risk of heart attack or stroke, can cause kidney failure, blindness, and lower limb amputation. Residents of some communities face challenges including difficulty paying for medication, transportation to doctors’ appointments and lack of healthy food outlets in their neighborhood among others.
These combined environmental circumstances lead to poorly controlled diabetes which makes the medical complications like limb amputation more likely. Unfortunately, black men in the Philadelphia area are four times more likely than white men to have foot amputations due to diabetic complications. Getting screened for diabetes and checking for diabetic complications is crucial. Ignoring troublesome symptoms can cost you a limb.
Dr. Ronald Renzi, a podiatrist practicing in the Philadelphia area for over 25 years has focused on reducing this disparity through a grassroots program called Save Your Soles. The program works with community groups to teach the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and heighten awareness of diabetic complications to ultimately reduce amputation rates. For the fifth year, the COEC partnered with the Chester Environmental Partnership to hold a Save Your Soles event in Chester. On February 22nd, ninety residents enjoyed a diabetes friendly luncheon at City Hall. Assembling insurers and resources on diet, exercise, free eyeglasses, and other environmental health issues, the event provided a one stop opportunity for community members to learn about and connect with diabetes related resources.
The COEC recognizes that the environment’s impact on health takes many forms. The management of complicated conditions, like diabetes is directly impacted by the environmental conditions of lack of access to health care, healthy food and safe places to exercise. We work to engage residents in strategies to overcome less than ideal environmental conditions and improve their environmental health.
Through the Save Your Soles Campaign, Dr. Renzi aims to reach every neighborhood in Philadelphia and Chester regarding diabetic foot care. The campaign does outreach via mailing postcards and speaking on the radio.
For more information about the Save Your Soles Campaign, contact Dr. Renzi’s office at (215) 884-0140, or visit: www.renzipodiatry.com/save-your-soles.html