Forgot Password

Sign In


  • Company Information

  • Billing Address

  • Are you primarily interested in advertising *

  • Do you want to recieve the HealthTimes Newsletter?

Diabetic foot disease claims a limb through amputation every two hours

Photo: DFD claims limb every two hours: report
It has been described as Australia's least known major health problem, yet diabetic foot disease claims a limb every two hours, researchers say.

It is the leading cause of amputations, yet diabetic foot disease may be Australia's least known major health problem and it's costing lives, a report reveals.

The disease, which has the potential to affect anyone diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, costs the health care system $1.6 billion a year, according to a report published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Diabetic foot disease (DFD) claims a limb, through amputation, every two hours and it has a mortality rate worse than many cancers, researchers say.
The alarming figures have prompted researchers at Diabetic Foot Australia to release on Monday the Australian diabetes-related foot disease strategy 2018-2022, in a bid to end avoidable amputations within a generation.

DFD commonly develops from trauma in the presence of peripheral neuropathy or peripheral arterial disease and is complicated by infection - meaning damage to nerves leads to loss of feeling, with injury to the foot overlooked until it needs amputation.

For most people, it starts off as a "rub in the wrong shoes" and it rubs and rubs until there's a hole in the foot, says report co-author Dr Matthew Malone.

"When you have that sort of profound loss of feeling to your feet, your warning mechanism is gone," he told AAP.

"We can perform amputation under mild sedation and people won't feel it."

The researcher said the best way to prevent DFD is to reduce the effects of diabetes through weight management, controlling blood sugars and regular foot checks.

In the past, mostly people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes aged 60 or older were affected, but the age group is getting younger with people in their late 30s and 40s being diagnosed, as well as more people with Type 1 diabetes, he said.

The report should be a wake-call for Australian governments and health professionals to act, Dr Malone and his co-authors said.

"It really is a silent problem. It just doesn't have the same 'ring' as other health problems," said Dr Malone, Director for Research at the South West Sydney Limb Preservation and Wound Research hub.

The report recommends a coordinated interdisciplinary approach to tackle DFD, especially as Australia has the second highest diabetes-related amputation rate of OECD nations.

The new strategy outlines nine key recommendations, including subsidising evidence-based treatment, increasing access to care and greater investment in research.

For those with a diagnosis, Dr Malone advised: "Watch what footwear you buy, check your feet every night, take your shoes and socks off, look for rubs and cuts ... get to your GP to talk about some issues with diet and weight control."


Thanks, you've subscribed!

Share this free subscription offer with your friends

Email to a Friend

  • Remaining Characters: 500