Dubai, UAE: Foot amputations can be prevented if patients with Type 2 diabetes adopt regular podiatry care at home and seek a medical check-up every quarter and a comprehensive check-up once a year, said experts in diabetes management during a workshop on Sunday.
Globally, more than 40-50 per cent of foot amputations in Type 2 diabetes patients can be avoided through early detection and prevention techniques, they said.
The data is relevant in the UAE which, according to the Diabetes Atlas 2011 released by (IDF) in 2012, has a diabetes prevalence rate of 19.2 per cent.
Foot assessment should be part of routine diabetic care, said experts.
A person with Type 2 diabetes is at risk of several complications including neuropathy or damage to nerves. The nerve damage can result in loss of sensation in the feet, leading to foot complications like ulceration and amputation.
Further, damage to the blood vessels from diabetes results in poor blood circulation in the feet, making healing harder in the presence of a sore or infection.
Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Mohammad Farghaly, head of Acute and Chronic Care, Primary Health Care Sector at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said that when a person with diabetes suffers from neuropathy, he may not be able to feel his feet, leading to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones and joints while walking. Sores may develop, which do not heal due to the impairment of the immune system by diabetes.
“The infections can develop into gangrene. Antibiotics do not work to treat the infection and often amputation of the foot or leg is the only treatment. We can prevent more than 40-50 per cent of foot amputations with early detection. About four to five per cent of our patients suffer from diabetes foot,” said Dr Farghaly.
Dr Ahmad Bin Kalban, CEO of Primary Healthcare Centre, told Gulf News that the screening and early detection are integral in reducing cases of diabetic foot. “We notice that most diabetic patients come to health centres during a late stage of diabetic foot, requiring amputation. Diabetic patients should examine their feet and care for their feet — including nail care — regularly at home, every three months at a clinic and opt for a comprehensive check up once a year.”
During the workshop on Diabetic Foot Awareness, hosted by pharmaceutical company Pfizer in partnership with the DHA, the experts reiterated the importantance of educating professionals in Primary Health Care (PHC) settings on early detection.
Dr Yasser Al Dershaby, Medical Director at Pfizer, told Gulf News that the workshop is part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of diabetic foot. “Health-care professionals should teach diabetes patients how to examine their feet for any abnormalities. We need to work together to identify patients at risk of foot problems,” he said.
© Gulf NewsMar 2013