We have been using mirrors for at least 8,000 years to check our appearance and to admire our features. But only now can we conveniently use them to check the health of our feet.
The newest development in this long history of mirrors can help those of us who have diabetes prevent the worst problems that diabetic neuropathy causes. About 60 to 70 percent of us have some form of neuropathy. The most common type is peripheral neuropathy, which causes pain or loss of feeling in the toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms.
We we don't treat injuries to our feet right away, doctors may have to amputate. But if we catch little problems with our feet before they became major, people with diabetes can prevent at least half of these amputations.
Until now the problem has been that checking the bottoms of our feet wasn't easy enough with any of the mirrors in our homes. Now, however, a company called Insight Healthcare Solutions has combined the simple idea of a mirror with the basic needs of our feet into something totally new.
"Basically, we've just put some illuminated, magnifying mirrors into your typical bathroom scale," the company's product development specialist, Jack Guest, wrote me a few days ago. "This enables foot checking, and the presence of the scale itself also serves as a daily cue and reminder."
Just two weeks ago they got the first batch, and Jack sent me one for testing. I've been using it ever since.
It works. Actually, it makes the work of checking my feet regularly much easier. I don't have to stretch or strain to check out my feet.
Each morning when I step on and off the Insight scale for my regular routine of weighing, the mirror's lights come on, reminding me to check my feet. I've found it easiest to see my feet when I sit down on the toilet. The scale also has a button I can press to check my feet without weighing.
I look for any one of four types of warning signs. They are redness or inflammation, an ulcer or sore, a cut or blister, or any toe irritation, like an ingrown toenail.
The FocusOnYourFeet.com website offers this combination scale and mirror. It lists for $99.99.
But Jack sent me a stack of $5 off coupons with the offer code of "Scale5." It's good at the website or by calling 1 (866) 321-2406.
Just remember: "minor problems, illuminated mirror."