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Diabetes: Preventing amputations ‘major concern’ as numbers rise

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The number of major amputations is increasing the overall number of major amputations is increasing, as the number of people with diabetes rises

The number of major lower limb amputations has rise, with 7545 major amputations over the past 3 years between 2015 to 2018, compared with 6957 between 2012 to 2015, according to figures released by Public Health England.

According to the figures, the overall number of major amputations is increasing, as the number of people with diabetes rises, but the rate among people with diabetes is not significantly increasing. The data also shows that while the risk of diabetes is higher in some ethnic groups, especially those from South Asia, the rate of major amputations caused by diabetes is greatest in white males, and also shows that there is significant variation in the risk of amputation across the country.

‘It’s a tragedy that so many people are unnecessarily having to face the life-changing consequences of diabetes, such as amputations. Survival rates and quality of life for people following such major surgery can often be poor. This shouldn’t be happening when the condition is preventable,’ said Dr Jenifer Smith, Programme Director at PHE for the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

The data also showed that patients from England had 147,067 hospital stays for diabetic foot disease, with the average length of stay in hospital being 8 days and the total number of days spent in hospital for diabetic foot disease was 1,826,734. Additionally, 85,837 patients were admitted for foot disease and 33% of these had more than one stay over the 3 years.

‘The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has been hugely successful in providing help and support to those at risk of developing the condition, which is why it’s now being doubled in size. It’s important that those providing the service need to work closely with their local public health teams who know their community, to ensure they’re reaching and meeting the needs of those at greatest risk,’ added Dr Smith.

'Type 2 diabetes remains the greatest health challenge in this country and many adults are in danger of developing this deadly but preventable disease.’

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