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Diabetes amputees converge on London's O2 Arena to campaign for better foot services

Diabetes UK today brought together 100 people, including 20 diabetes amputees, at the ‘Body Worlds and Mirror of Time’ exhibition at London’s O2 Arena for a photo call to highlight the fact that diabetes causes 100 amputations a week in the UK.

You can read the events of the morning through our Twitter feed athttp://twitter.com/diabetesuk.

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                The full photo, with Canary Wharf in the background

'Putting feet first'

We are calling on hospitals and primary care organisations to adopt the recommendations set out in a new Diabetes UK/NHS Diabetes report, ‘Putting feet first’.

The report calls for primary care organisations to work with hospitals and community services to ensure people with diabetes have their feet examined at least once a year, to be told if their feet are ‘at risk’, and what to do to reduce the risk of infection.

The report also calls for people with diabetes admitted to hospital for any reason to have their feet examined, and protected, and if they develop any foot problems to have it assessed by a doctor, nurse or podiatrist within 24 hours.

Diabetes is leading cause of lower-limb amputation

Diabetes is the leading cause of lower-limb amputation in the world and around 5,000 people with diabetes undergo leg, foot or toe amputations each year in the UK, equivalent to 100 a week.

One in three people with diabetes do not realise that having the condition puts them more at risk of having an amputation. Up to 20 per cent (£600m) of the £3bn the NHS spends on diabetes each year goes on treating foot problems in people with diabetes, and at least £252m of this is spent on amputation.

Damage to nerves and blood supply

People with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at risk of damage to the nerves (neuropathy) and blood supply (ischaemia) to their feet. Both neuropathy and ischaemia can lead to foot ulcers and slow-healing wounds which, if they become infected, can result in amputation. However, researchers estimate that between 49 per cent and 85 per cent of all diabetic amputations can be prevented.

People with diabetes can help to prevent complications

It's important to remember that by keeping blood glucose, blood cholesterol and blood pressure under control people with diabetes can help to prevent complications associated with the feet.

“Foot injuries or ulcers in people with diabetes need to be assessed as soon as possible by an expert team," said Bridget Turner, Head of Healthcare Policy at Diabetes UK.

"The longer they are left untreated, the greater the risk of deterioration and loss of the limb, which has devastating effects on a person's mobility and mood, reducing independence and causing disfigurement."

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