Prevention of Amputations a Focus of Diabetes Week: Australia

This from today's Sydney Morning Herald reporting on efforts of our colleagues in Western Australia:

Health advocates are hoping to raise awareness of the risks associated with diabetes, including foot amputations, during National Diabetes Week.

Diabetes WA says that every week, 65 Australians lose a foot to diabetes, as a result of damage caused to nerves and blood vessels in the foot.

The organisation says diabetes is Australia's fastest-growing chronic disease.

It estimates more than one million Australians are diagnosed with diabetes, including 100,000 people in WA.

Major amputations are 38 times more likely in Aboriginal people than in non-Aboriginal people aged 25-49 years, the organisation says.

Jayne Ross, 37, lost her foot to diabetes two years ago and said she regretted not taking better care of her health.

“I didn't manage my diabetes well when I was younger because I couldn't see the damage I was doing to my body,” she said.

“I didn't take my diabetes seriously. After I lost my foot, my 16-month-old son and I learnt to walk together.”

Diabetes WA general manager of health services Helen Mitchell said it was important to raise awareness of the disease, because there was no cure.

“The good news is up to 85 percent of diabetes-related amputations are preventable, so we also want all West Australians with diabetes to look after their feet,” she said.

“The best ways to prevent amputation are as simple as looking at and feeling your feet, wearing good fitting shoes and having regular check-ups.”

Diabetes WA is promoting its Your Feet and Diabetes campaign during National Diabetes Week, which runs from July 10-16.

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