From the UK Daily Telegraph
Doctors have reported a dramatic rise in the number of diabetic patients having limbs amputated.
Published: 4:44AM GMT 29 Dec 2009
The increase in amputations has almost doubled over a 10 year period with up to 100 patients a week losing a leg to complications of diabetes Photo: GETTY
The increase in amputations has almost doubled over a 10 year period with up to 100 patients a week losing a leg to complications of the disease.
The number of people diagnosed with type-two diabetes the type caused by obesity – has increased greatly in the past decade, which could partly explain the findings, according to researchers.
But doctors believe that with better care up to 80 per cent of amputations could be avoided.
Major amputations, above the ankle joint, have risen by 43 per cent and the average age of those having above-ankle amputations fell from 71 to 69 years, which followed the pattern of more people being diagnosed younger.
Dr Eszter Vamos, from Londons Imperial College, who led the study, said they had expected to see long-term complications of diabetes rising because the number of people diagnosed with the condition had increased.
“But at the same time there is very strong evidence that you can prevent up to 80 per cent of the amputations.
Along with complications such as heart attacks and strokes, people with diabetes are far more likely to develop foot problems, including ulcers, which can become infected and lead to gangrene.
Researchers believe that better checks by doctors and awareness of symptoms by patients could reduce the need for amputation.
The findings in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice – highlight the importance of frequent foot checks and getting control of blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol.”
Diabetes UK said more early diagnosis was needed, as diabetes could go undetected for more than 10 years and most people already had complications when they were diagnosed.
The charity also said too many people with diabetes are walking barefoot around their houses.
It warned that diabetes sufferers are at risk of damage to their feet caused by them being numb, a complication of the disease.
Damage can lead to foot ulcers and slow- healing wounds which, if they become infected, can result in amputation.
Podiatrists recommend that people with diabetes should always wear slippers around the home to reduce the risk of foot injuries.
Caroline Butler, care adviser at Diabetes UK, said: “It’s appalling that thousands of people with diabetes in the UK undergo lower limb amputations every year. We want to help reduce that number by getting people with diabetes to wear suitable slippers at home.