Diabetics urged to check feet in new campaign
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A campaign has been launched to urge diabetics to regularly check their feet to minimise the risk of amputation.
The campaign is being spearheaded by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn after national figures show 20 people have a limb amputated every day as a result of diabetes.
Between 2013 and 2016, 16 people in West Norfolk had a limb amputated due to complications caused by diabetes. Diabetes is a growing problem in the area with 20pc of patients at the QEH being treated for Type 1 or Type 2.
The condition damages the nerves and blood vessels that serve the limbs which could develop into ulcers, leading to amputation in more than 80pc of cases.
Members of the QEH are coming together to promote the foot care message by supporting World Diabetes Day on November 14 and World Stop Pressure Ulcer Day on November 16.
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Diabetic foot assessments in the hospital will help to ensure patients with diabetes do not develop a foot ulcer during their stay, and those with a current foot ulcer get the right care straight away.
Principal podiatrist Suzanna Grimes, who is based at the QEH but works for Norfolk Community Health and Care, said: 'Our amputation rates in West Norfolk are falling year-on-year but it is so important that people with diabetes attend their GP surgery for annual foot screening and check their feet every day – whether in hospital or not.
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'People with diabetes can get foot problems because there is too much sugar in the blood over a long period of time. This can affect the nerves in the foot, which can prevent a patient from feeling any pain - so they may not be aware that they have a foot problem.
'If people manage their diabetes well and take good care of their feet, most foot problems can be prevented.
'It is vital to contact a health professional immediately if anything unusual is found during these daily checks - look for new redness or swelling, cuts, cracks or breaks in the skin and any weeping or discharge.
'Foot problems can develop really quickly and urgent assessment is vital to prevent more severe complications.'
For more information about diabetic footcare go to www.diabetes.org.uk.