A recent study into the number of diabetes related amputations has reported that NHS Blackpool CCG has seen a 34% increase in major incidents during 2014/15 compared to the 2009 – 2012 period.
The report also showed that there were more than double the number of major diabetes related amputations in the town compared to the average figure for England. The neighbouring Fylde and Wye region showed similar numbers with 1.7 major amputations per 1,000 people with diabetes, a 33% increase.
Published by Public Health England, the report also revealed that the annual number of nights spent in hospital by diabetic patients was 215 in Blackpool compared to the average of 161 nights a year in England.
Major diabetes related amputations are those involving above the knee procedures while minor procedures are those where the amputation is carried out below the ankle. The figures represent a bigger picture of an increasing problem with diabetes with charities calling on greater action and focus on improving the levels of care provided to those affected.
A good regime of foot care is essential for diabetics who are more prone to developing foot ulcers than those who don’t have the disease as they are more likely to suffer with nerve damage due to increased blood sugar levels.
For diabetics who may have lost any sensation in their feet, it can be very difficult to detect a foot ulcer which, if not detected and treated early, can lead to an amputation being required.
Factors that increase the chance of diabetics developing foot ulcers
Those who live with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing foot ulcers than non-diabetics particularly if they are overweight, have high cholesterol or blood pressure and do little exercise. Male diabetics are also more prone to foot ulcers than their female counterparts.
The NHS provides the following advice for diabetics on foot care:
• Visit a podiatrist at least once a year and have them treat any corns and hard skin
• Keep feet clean, free of infection and cut toe nails regularly
• Avoid crossing legs when sitting down as this could restrict blood circulation
• Wear well fitted shoes and avoid wearing those that are too tight or rub on the feet
• Never walk barefoot anywhere to avoid the risk of cuts which can develop into something more serious
• Diabetics who smoke should stop doing so as smoking has a serious effect on blood circulation impacting the legs and feet
Taking particular notice of foot care can vastly help diabetics to avoid the risk of foot ulcers developing and ultimately, to reduce the number of patients whose condition progresses to the stage that a diabetes related amputation is necessary.
Medical professionals are responsible for making urgent referrals if signs of a foot ulcer or other problem is detected in a diabetic patient, more information can be found on this here.
If you, or a relative, is affected by diabetes and have suffered as a result of medical negligence, Linder Myers’ highly regarded team of specialists are here to provide sympathetic advice. Contact a member of our team on 0800 085 3295 for an initial free discussion.
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