Amputations may be avoided with more care

Dan Howarth

Nearly 150 diabetes-related amputations have taken place across the borough over the past three years, according to a charity.

And Diabetes UK officials say most could have been avoided with a greater understanding of an important early warning sign.

Foot ulcers are a proven factor in four of out five such amputations. But the research conducted via YouGov found more than six out of 10 people were unaware of the potential risk - and one in five did not realise the condition could lead to lost limbs in diabetes sufferers.

The charity has launched their Putting Feet First campaign, calling for routine referrals to foot specialists for sufferers and improved NHS services.

Dan Howarth, the charity’s care head, said: “While it’s positive the majority of people are aware amputation is a complication of diabetes, it’s very worrying so many don’t know the dangers posed by foot ulcers.

“That’s why it’s essential that people living with diabetes know how to look after their feet and they check them daily.

“It’s also crucial they know to seek urgent medical attention if they notice any problems with their feet - a matter of hours can make the difference between losing and keeping a limb. With the right support, four out of five amputations are preventable.”

If sufferers are checking their feet and they feel warm, or appear calloused, then they are being urged to seek medical advice.

Sarah Smouth, of Family Footcare on Mesnes Road, Wigan, said: “People with diabetes are more likely to be admitted into hospital with a foot ulcer than any other complication of diabetes.

“Following an amputation up to 80 per cent of people die within five years. This is a higher mortality rate than colon, breast or prostate cancer.”

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