A hundred people a week in the UK have a lower limb amputated as a result of diabetes, warns Diabetes UK today.
The health charity says to reduce this figure there is an urgent need for greater awareness of the impact of the condition, which as well as lower limb amputation can lead to other devastating complications such as heart attacks, stroke, blindness and kidney failure.
Amputation is a complication of diabetes caused by damage to the nerves and blood vessels that serve the limbs. Alarmingly, up to 70% of people die within five years of having an amputation as a result of diabetes. Currently more than half of the general public do not associate diabetes with amputations and worryingly one in three people with diabetes do not realise that having the condition puts them more at risk of having an amputation.
"This situation is shocking given that most amputations can be prevented with better awareness and management of the condition. People with diabetes need to have optimum support, guidance and clinical care to help minimise the risks of amputation," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.
"We want to see all people with diabetes have better access to podiatrists and to a regular foot check as part of their annual medical review. People with diabetes who are assessed as being at risk of foot problems need to have access to high-quality integrated specialist foot care services to save the foot and reduce the likelihood of amputation."