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Better care reduces amputations

Research being presented at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference in Birmingham has highlighted the need for better foot care to prevent amputations.The research showed that more than a quarter of those thought to be at high risk of having an amputation were not offered any kind of specialist appointment.Furthermore, two in five people weren't being educated on how to prevent and treat infections which can lead to amputation and over a third had no specialist diabetes review.Amputation is a complication of diabetes caused by damage to the nerves and blood vessels that serve the limbs. In the UK, diabetes is the second most common cause of lower limb amputation and staggeringly, up to 70 per cent of people die within five years of having an amputation. "It is shocking that some people with diabetes are getting sub-standard specialist foot care, or even none at all, if they are at high risk of amputation," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK. "We know that the rate of amputation may be reduced by 40 per cent or more through effective care.  All people with diabetes should receive at least an annual foot check.  Those who have problems need to be provided with a foot care plan which incorporates specialist care and education on what to look out for and how to avoid infections.” Dr Singh, who carried out the audit of foot care said,  “This research clearly shows that care for high risk patients is inadequate.  Mandatory foot care plans should be put in place to ensure that all people get the right care and education.” People at high risk of amputation are those who have a previous history of ulcers, neuropathy or nerve damage, circulation problems, foot deformities and those who cannot self care. This story was brought to you by the Public Affairs and Press Team 

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