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World Diabetes Day 2018

Today is World Diabetes Day which this year is raising awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and the role the family has in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes.

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Sanja acts for both adults and children in cases involving negligent medical treatment provided by the NHS and in the private sector. Her particular interest lies in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology, amputation and fatal accidents litigation.
The latest NHS National Diabetes Audit report highlights the need for awareness of this condition. Published in March this year, the report shows that men and women between the ages of 35 and 64 who are suffering from Type I diabetes are 3 to 4 times more likely to die prematurely than those who do not suffer from the condition.

Men and women in the same age group who suffer from Type II diabetes are up to two times more likely to die prematurely. 

Whilst there are a number of serious complications of diabetes, including sight loss, kidney disease, foot problems, nerve damage and amputations, the most common complications of diabetes that can lead to early death are strokes and cardiovascular disease.

The report shows that each week in the UK, 680 people suffer a stroke as a complication of diabetes, 530 people suffer a diabetes-related heart attack and there are around 2000 cases of diabetes related heart failure. 

The report also shows that fewer people with Type I than Type II and other diabetes receive their annual checks.

It is concerning to read that foot surveillance is one of the checks most often missed out.  In the period between 2014 and 2017, there were 7,305 major amputation procedures and 19,073 minor lower limb amputation procedures carried out on patients with diabetes in England (source Public Health England Diabetes Foot Care profile May 2018).

The importance of proper diabetes management, care, prevention and education about the condition cannot be overstated which is why today, on World Diabetes Day the emphasis on the role of a person’s closest support network, the family, is welcomed.
 
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Whilst the importance of good management of diabetes cannot be underestimated, neither can the regular multidisciplinary review of diabetic patients conducted as part of the NHS audit.

As part of this multidisciplinary approach to all diabetes sufferers, I would urge all patients with the condition to have their feet checked regularly by a podiatrist, a nurse or a doctor.

In 2017, around 70,000 people in England had diabetic ulcers (The College of Podiatry). It is estimated that 10% of people with diabetes will have a foot ulcer at some point in their lives. Similarly, if a person has lost feeling in their feet, then it is possible that they may damage their feet without realising it.
Many diabetes-related amputations are preceded by foot ulceration caused by a combination of impaired circulation and nerve damage, it is estimated that diabetic foot ulcers precede more than 80% of amputations in people with diabetes.

If a person is at an increased risk of an ulcer, they need to be monitored more frequently, a simple measure to prevent catastrophic results.

World Diabetes Day reminds us that through the correct management, care, prevention and education for all those affected by diabetes, and their families, devastating consequences can be avoided and the quality of life for people with diabetes can be much improved.

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