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Defeat Diabetes
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70% of Leg Amputations Due to Diabetes

Posted: Monday, May 02, 2005

Dr Altaf A Lal, health attache and HHS (health and human services) regional representative for South Asia, US embassy, New Delhi said globally 135 million people suffer from diabetes and 16 million were afflicted in the US.

“Among them 15 per cent or two million patients are likely to develop foot complications,” he added. He said in India the diabetic population was rapidly increasing with 30 million diabetic patients, the largest in the world. “Forty per cent of all diabetic admissions to hospitals in India is due to foot problems,” he added.

Quoting a study he said, the amputation rate among Indian diabetes patients, who develop foot infection, was about 23 per cent compared to 7 per cent among patients from Germany.

Observing that of all the diabetic complications, diabetic foot was the most neglected and the most expensive. He also stressed that proper professional clinical foot care was of paramount importance in preventing severe foot-related complications of diabetes as studies revealed high prevalence of potential foot problems in healthy diabetic patients, who have no apparent foot complications.

“It highlights the importance of proper foot examination in all diabetic patients, irrespective of whether they have a foot complication or not,” he said.

Highlighting that more focus should be on the need for collective efforts, renewed thinking and commitment to tackle diabetes and complications of diabetes, Dr Altaf said poor knowledge of foot care among diabetic patients were the factors that contribute to high prevalence of foot problems among people with diabetes.

“Lack of proper foot care specialists, delayed referral of patients with foot infection also contribute to high prevalence rate,” he said and added that patient education was the key to any successful diabetic treatment program along with routine diabetic foot care. “We need to educate and sensitize people to foot related problems of diabetes,” he added.

In this context, he said the key to eliminate these diseases was by establishing the burden of the disease and understanding the socio-epidemiological factors.

“Burden of disease meant not only in terms of patient load, but also the economic impact in short and long term. Unless there is strong supporting scientific data, it is almost impossible for policy makers to develop long-term strategies or make financial commitments.

Source: Diabetes In

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