Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Journey to a Texas Ironman

Off days…love them! It is the one time I can catch up on reading and a bunch of other items on the to-do list. Recently, I tripped across an article in the New York times referencing how 40 somethings are turning to triathlons. Leave it to someone to come up with this acronym: Mamils. Mamils stands for Middle Aged Men In Lycra. So if the over 40 male crowd is a Mamil, then I guess you can lump Dr. Crane and I in the Mafil category.

I’ll take it. I think Mafil is pretty cool. Here we are living a healthy lifestyle, dedicated to the sport, with the occasional luck of placing in the top three of either age or weight division and enticing people everyday to become more active and live healthier lifestyles. Many of our friends think we are nuts. I’ll take that as well. I think you do have to be nuts to a certain extent to plan out and execute daily workouts on top of work and all the other curve balls this thing called life pitches to us.

As I read the article, it mentioned the median age group is 41 years of age. I would agree with that. The average salary however which was listed at 175,000 may be a bit grand. You see, there are many who do not necessarily fall for the paying full price on the latest gear. I am one of them. I cannot remember the last time I paid full price for anything except for race entries and the bike jersey from each race. Thanks to the internet, and social websites, you can learn a lot from clothing to bikes to running shoes. Many people I meet are do not necessarily have the best of the best however they often are the winners of their respective age group. Sure, the pros have the latest and greatest…then again it sure helps to be sponsored by the brands plastered all over their clothing, helmet, shoes, bike, wetsuit, running shoes…well, you get the picture.

It all boils down to the athlete. You need to train and put time into all three disciplines. You also need to eat right, maintain life balance and sleep. Sure, I do adore my bike and the few upgrades I have done (discounted items of course) but the bike isn’t going to obtain the level of endurance needed for the IronMan. It comes down to training. So for those who think they must be of a certain income level to be in triathlons whether long or short distance your wrong. You can join in on the great fun of the multisport lifestyle just like the next guy……but you do need to train.

Talk to ya next week,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Do Diabetics Lose Their Legs?

You have had problems with your foot for years. Your doctor now tells you that the foot needs to be amputated. How did this happen? Do you have to go through with the surgery? What will happen if you keep your foot?

Diabetes is a devastating disease. It can be managed, and many of the complications of diabetes are preventable. This takes much dedication of the patient and a team of doctors. Discovering you have diabetes and making life changes to prevent life threatening complication of the disease is very difficult. Thus, many people still run into problems associated to diabetes. Foot problems are among one the most common complications. 70% of all limb amputations are due to diabetes!

There are several reasons diabetics have foot problems but let’s talk about the three big causes. When the nerves are exposed to high levels of glucose or high blood sugars, they are slowly damaged. Thus, many diabetics suffer from peripheral neuropathy, a disease in which they slowly lose protective sensation in the feet. This can be very dangerous. I have had patients who had glass, needles, tacks and other objects stuck in their foot and they never remember how it happened. I have also had patients burn themselves in the bath tub. Their feet can no longer perceive temperature and they can easily burn or freeze their feet!

Diabetics also suffer from poor circulation. Blood carries many nutrients and oxygen that is essential to keep tissues healthy. Poor blood supply makes it extremely difficult for damaged tissues to heal. When a patient has a wound or ulcer on the foot, their poor blood supply makes it is so hard for the area to heal. Diabetics also have a compromised immune system. The body is weakened in its defense mechanism to fight off infections. Infections kill good tissues and leaves dead necrotic tissue behind. Infections can spread very fast from soft tissue to bone and joints and even into the blood supply. Infections can be life threatening.

When the threat of infection is too severe and can no longer be managed by antibiotics, the doctor may suggest an amputation. To remove all or as much dead tissue as possible helps prevent the infection spreading to other areas of the body. A doctor may also suggest amputation if the foot has become non-functional.

The thought of losing a part of your body is a very difficult concept to deal with. It is not uncommon for the doctor to suggest therapy to help the patient cope with process of surgery and rehabilitation. It is important to note that amputations are a part of medical plan to keep you as health as possible. It is important to discuss your fears and concerns with your doctor and to seek second opinions if you do not feel comfortable with your doctor’s advice. It is your leg and should be fully aware to the risk and consequences of keeping and amputating portions of your limb.