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White men risk losing limbs

White men living in poorer areas are the group with the highest risk of diabetes-related amputation, according to a new study, carried out by researchers across the UK which looked at data from 1.8 million people with diabetes in the National Diabetes Audit. It found that being male; living in poorer areas; and being white were all associated with a higher risk of lower limb amputation.

Too often, people will only see a healthcare professional about their feet once it is already too late. Up to 80 per cent of diabetes-related amputations are thought to be preventable and foot problems not being treated quickly enough is one of the main reasons there are so many unnecessary amputations.

Naomi Holman, the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory researcher who led the study, says about the research: “It is important that everyone with diabetes takes good care of their feet. While we do not fully understand why white men living in poorer areas have a higher risk of diabetes-related amputation, our findings suggest that efforts to reduce amputations should focus particularly on this group.”

The Diabetes UK campaign, Putting Feet First, aims to reduce diabetes-related amputations by half over five years. As well as raising awareness among people with diabetes of the importance of good foot care, it is also demanding that the NHS improves the systems it has in place to treat foot problems.

 

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