Suitable diabetes monitoring could save limbs and lives
Celebrated annually on 14 November, World Diabetes Day aims to raise awareness of the increasing health threats of diabetes, in a bid to reduce the strain of cases on healthcare services as the number of diabetes cases increases.
Thompsons Solicitors, in partnership with the Limbless Association, will mark the world awareness day by publishing a diabetes factsheet, outlining the serious complications diabetic patients are susceptible to, such as amputation or blindness.
Research by Public Health England recently revealed that treatment targets across England are not being met. Targets relating to controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar for two thirds of diabetes patients across the country are being missed.
According to charity Diabetes UK, diabetics should expect to receive 15 essential checks from their healthcare team, including blood glucose level and blood pressure measurements, and foot, eye and weight checks. A tissue viability nurse should also be available to patients to assess circulation issues.
Poor treatment and management of diabetes can lead to complications including amputations, heart attacks or strokes. According to Public Health England, approximately 120 people with diabetes have a limb amputated each week.
The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has now reached more than 3.2 million, and the NHS spends around 10% of its budget on handling diabetes cases.
Richard Morrison from the Limbless Association, a charity providing information and support to the limb-loss community, said: "As a leading limb-loss charity that provides support to the amputee community, we are seeing a worrying increase in diabetes related amputations.
"Due to the unfortunate side effects of diabetes, that impact on both the nervous and circulatory systems, amputation can be the unhappy outcome of a simple infection. Suitable monitoring and regular health checks could serve to reduce or prevent the need for amputation."
Senior clinical negligence and serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, Gwen Kirby-Dent, said: "Diabetes is a serious condition, which effects millions of people in the UK. During 2013, the number of people diagnosed with the condition reached more than three million, yet research by Public Health England indicates that the package and level of care available varies dramatically across the UK.
"Diabetes can be effectively managed and needs to be as the complications can lead to very serious health risks. Suitable monitoring can not only save limbs but lives too. To learn that on average just 36% of local authority areas are meeting all three targets of checking blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar is very worrying.
"World Diabetes Day is a timely reminder of the very real risks faced by diabetes sufferers which are complicated by the shocking disparity in care disclosed by the statistics from Public Health England. It is imperative that diabetic patients need to be able to access the level of care that they need in order to prevent complications like amputation. Consistent care requires consistent and proper funding and that needs government commitment."
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