Diabetes 'causing 160 amputations a week'

Posted on Sep 28 2017 - 3:09am by admin

More than a third of people remain unaware foot ulcers are a serious complication of the disease and the leading cause of lost limbs.

Figures show eight in 10 sufferers die within five years of surgery.

Foot ulcers and amputations are also very costly with £1 in every £140 of NHS spending in England going on foot care for people with diabetes.

Dan Howarth, head of care at charity Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes-related amputations devastate lives. While it’s positive that the majority of people are aware that amputation is a complication of diabetes, it’s very worrying that so many don’t know the dangers posed by foot ulcers.

“That’s why it’s essential that people living with diabetes know how to look after their feet, and that they check them daily.

“It’s also crucial they know to seek urgent medical attention if they notice any problems with their feet; a matter of hours can make the difference between losing and keeping a limb. 

“With the right support four out of five amputations are preventable. But the quality and availability of services still varies significantly across England.

“We want to see greater commitment from Government to improving diabetes foot services, ensuring routine, high-quality care to those who need it, regardless of where they live.”

Figures from Public Health England and the Cardiovascular Intelligence Network analysed by Diabetes UK showed there are more than 8,500 diabetes-related amputations carried out in England each year, equivalent to 23 each day.

Ben Harris, 42, from Berkshire, was diagnosed with Type 2 when he was 18 and had his right leg amputated aged 36 after three years of treatment for an ulcer that had formed on his big toe.

He is also due to have his left leg amputated due to osteomyelitis and ulcers and has also suffered sight loss due to diabetic retinopathy.

Mr Harris said: “I was absolutely devastated when I was told my right leg had to be amputated below the knee.

“It was horrible, nothing can prepare you for it. I cried and I was scared, I’m not going to deny it.

“There needs to be more information for young people with diabetes about the risks of diabetes complications.

“I was never told about the importance of foot care or the very real possibility of amputations.”

Meanwhile 240,000 people with the condition are diagnosed with heart disease or strokes each year.

The figure includes 23,200 who suffer a heart attack, 31,900 struck down by a stroke and 92,800 who develop heart failure.

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