Abu Dhabi, UAE: Call to launch ‘Save the Feet’ program to raise awareness about complications related to unhealed wounds in diabetic conditions
August 15, 2012: More than 168,000 diabetic individuals in the UAE risk the possibility of amputation if they sustain injuries on their limbs, a recent study indicates, triggering an urgent call to launch a ‘Save the Feet’ program in the country.
The study undertaken in Al Ain on diabetic patients randomly selected over two years, showed the 12% prevalence of peripheral vascular disease.
Peripheral vascular disease is a condition similar to what happens to the heart blood vessels, causing narrowing of the blood vessels. The disease refers to the narrowing of the blood vessels of the entire circulation except those of the heart. As a result of this narrowing the patients are vulnerable to non-healing wounds, gangrene, infections and ultimately amputation, said Dr Amit Kumar, Consultant, Surgery at Burjeel Hospital and a Clinical Assistant Professor – Department of Surgery, Columbia University, New York, USA
Poor circulation contributes to diabetic foot problems by reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrition to the body tissues, causing poor healing in case of injuries. What makes the problem more serious is that treatment procedures for diabetics often ignore the cardio vascular issues.
Taking into consideration the grim situation, Dr Amit called for an effort to raise awareness and encourage preventive measures through a ‘Save the Feet’ program. He was speaking at a Continuous Medical Education (CME) seminar hosted by Burjeel Hospital recently in Abu Dhabi.
Dr. Kumar has presented more than 65 such talks at various national and international meetings in an effort to increase the awareness of PVD as well as to increase the international presence of Abu Dhabi and the UAE at international conferences.
“Preventing complications related to injuries on the foot is important for diabetic patients because poor circulation impairs healing process and can lead to infection and other serious foot conditions. Many doctors focus only on the wounds and try to control diabetes but don’t pay enough attention to poor blood circulation on the feet and related problems which could lead to the possibility of amputation. That is why the nation requires a strong campaign such as ‘Save the Feet’ to increase awareness about this issue,” said Dr Kumar.
In addition, the modern treatment methods using minimally invasive means that enable medical practitioners to deal with the problem of reduced circulation in such a way that most patients don’t require any cuts or even general anesthesia. Dr Kumar further stated, “Minimally invasive treatment helps open long blockages under local anesthesia, and most often the patient can return home the same day. These treatments are the standard of care in the United States.” Dr Kumar has performed more than 50 such limb salvaging procedures in the UAE and is on the world body (TASC III) for delineating outlines for methods of treatment for such problems related to circulation.
The UAE has the second highest prevalence of diabetes in the world at 19.5 per cent, and it is estimated that this figure will go up to 21 per cent by 2025, according to IDF.
IDF estimates suggest that one in five people in the Middle East are now living with diabetes, a number expected to increase to 1 in every 3 by 2030. Studies from the IDF show that diabetes accounted for 10.3 per cent of the total number of fatalities in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2011.
Increased prevalence of diabetes in the UAE could also mean spiraling healthcare spending as diabetes related diseases rise sharply. The region already spends US$5.5 billion annually on diabetes, accounting for 14 per cent of its total health care expenditure and this can be expected to increase. Families with diabetic members spend as much as 15 to 25 per cent of their income on diabetes treatment, according to IDF.
The seminar organized by Burjeel Hospital was part of 24 such meetings lined up for 12 months by the premier healthcare facility in the capital, with two meetings scheduled for every second and fourth Mondays each month.
The programs are open to general practitioners and all specialists in internal medicine, nephrology, urology, cardiology, emergency medicine, critical care and general surgery, amongst others. Each of these meetings is accredited by Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and will provide participants with 2 CME Category 1 Credit Hours.
Continuous education and professional development of health professionals are a top priority for HAAD in building the future and ensuring reliable healthcare for the community.
About Burjeel Hospital:
Burjeel Hospital is Abu Dhabi’s premier health facility providing world-class, specialized and superior healthcare complemented by a warm and personalized human touch to the growing population of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The hospital opened for patients in April 2012 as a Tertiary hospital under the auspices of the Health Authority for Abu Dhabi. Burjeel Hospital will be affiliated with some of the world’s best healthcare institutions for its centers of excellence. The IVF services will be managed and run by Europe’s renowned institute for reproductive medicine – Brussels University, Belgium. The hospital will soon be announcing its affiliations with world leaders in the treatment in areas of cardiac, diabetes and fetal medicine.
The hospital has well-stocked in-house pharmacy manned by experienced pharmacists to take care of all patient needs at any time of the day. Additionally, Burjeel has a coffee shop and a restaurant serving the finest and healthiest cuisines from across the world. Combining all-round specialization and expertise with most advanced technology, Burjeel offers the best in diagnostic, curative as well as preventive aspects of healthcare.
For more information, please contact:
Reem Diab, Sameh Hamtini
050/8253810 – 0507557717
Asda’a Burson Marsteller