According to Diabetes UK, about 80% of diabetes foot amputations are avoidable if there was better care. Many patients suffer because a lot of places are not equipped with the proper services to efficiently handle infections and foot ulcers. It is estimated that by 2015, there will be 7,000 more amputations due to diabetes.
Type I and 2 diabetes, when poorly treated, can bring about complications like the reduction of blood flow, leading to nerve damage. The damage increases the probability of ulcers and infections occurring, and this is what leads to most amputations.
Statistics say that those who suffer from diabetes are 20 times more likely to have a leg amputated compared to the rest of the “normal” population. The best way to handle diabetes infections is for all hospitals to employ a foot care team. Having a foot care team is actually part of the recommendations stated in the national guidelines. Unfortunately, about 40% of hospitals in the nation do not have these teams.
Each hospital has the responsibility to guarantee that patients that come in with emergency foot problems will be assessed by the proper experts within 24 hours of admission, as ulcers can progress extremely fast, and a few hours could spell the difference between keeping or losing the limb.
Another thing that diabetics should look out for are the symptoms of a foot infection. This can help them avoid high risk situations. It is quite unacceptable that there seems to be a growing number of amputations that are reported every week, as this is a problem that has a ready solution.
Having the foot care team in place in every hospital can create a huge difference in lowering rates of amputation. In fact, having these hospital teams in place would also mean a lot of savings for the country, as amputations are already very expensive.