UK charity aims to lower rising numbers of diabetic foot amputations
A new initiative called ‘Putting Feet First’ aims to slash the numbers of amputations carried out on diabetics by a half over the next five years.
Sam Wright, 56, from Conlig, Northern Ireland is one of a growing number of diabetics in the United Kingdom who have lost limbs to amputation.
Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes more than 10 years ago, Wright admits that he didn’t immediately take care of his condition until December 2008, when he began to experience problems with his left foot.
“In March 2009, my life changed forever,” he tells BBC News. “This is when my left leg was amputated, just below the knee, at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.
“All this could possibly have been avoided if I had seen a podiatrist on a regular basis,” he laments. “Instead I left it until hard skin developed on my left heel. This skin then cracked and eventually ulcerated.
“I went to the local doctors on Monday morning — by Monday afternoon I was admitted to hospital and I was operated on that evening to try and save my foot, he recalls. “This was unsuccessful and the following Wednesday my leg was amputated.”
Alarmed over the increase in the numbers of diabetes-related foot amputation across the UK, the national charity Diabetes UK has launched a campaign to raise awareness of foot care and other ways to ameliorate ailments related to diabetes.
In the UK, around 5,000 diabetes-related amputations are carried out each year — but experts argue that a whopping 80 percent of these could have been avoidable if better healthcare had been provided to patients and if they had been taught to manage their condition.
An Amputation significantly lowers a person’s quality of life and increases the risk of dying within the next few years. Noting this, Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, has called for more action.
The new initiative launched — called ‘Putting Feet First’ — aims to slash the numbers of amputations carried out on diabetics by a half over the next five years.