Diabetes Awareness Week 2017 – Know Diabetes, Fight Diabetes
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This week is Diabetes Awareness Week, when people across the UK help raise awareness of diabetes. 65 people per day die early from diabetes, and many more face serious complications including amputations according to Diabetes UK. Many of these complications can be avoided with better earlier management.
One of the common complications is foot ulcers. Diabetes impairs the blood supply to the feet, which means that it is harder for minor foot injuries to heal. A blister or cut can easily worsen and become infected. Once infection reaches the bone it often becomes impossible to save the foot. The situation is worse because a side effect of poor blood supply is also damage to the nerves. This means that the foot can be quite numb and people do not feel pain. They can suffer injuries without realising it.
Guidelines for GPs require any diabetic patients with an injury to their foot to be referred urgently to a multi-disciplinary foot clinic. They will then be treated by podiatrists, nurses, physicians and dieticians. The aim is to help the patient manage their diabetes, keep weight off the foot and make sure that the wound is carefully dressed. Unfortunately not all GPs follow the guidelines. Often patients are reviewed by their GP and seen by practice nurses but not given the more specialist care they should receive. It is estimated that 135 people with diabetes have to undergo amputations every week.
Some people develop Charcot’s foot, a condition where the foot gradually collapses and become misshapen. Many people with Charcot’s foot become serious disabled and some end up with amputations. Again this is an area where medical staff make mistakes and many fail to recognise the condition.
With the number of people developing diabetes increasing year by year, the need to increase awareness of diabetes is becoming more urgent.
Enable Law supports Diabetes UK in its campaign. Its specialist solicitors support people who suffer complications from mistakes in managing diabetes and in particular injuries to the feet.
For more information about Diabetes UK see https://www.diabetes.org.uk/
You can also join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #diabetesweek #knowdiabetes #fightdiabetes, and tweet @diabetesuk.