Staff have backed a campaign for people with diabetes to be aware of the related risks of a foot attack.
There are around 15,000 people with diabetes in the North East who are at high or increased risk of a diabetes-related foot attack – which is an injury to a foot which has reduced feeling or blood circulation.
Highly specialised podiatrist diabetes Claire Ward (pictured) is one of a group of staff at the trust who is part of theNorth East Diabetes Footcare Network. This is a group made up of experts including consultants, podiatrists and specialist diabetes nurses who work with Diabetes UK and meet regularly to raise awareness of the related risks people with diabetes have of suffering a foot attack.
She said: “It is very important that people with diabetes regularly check their own feet for changes and be aware that they may have numbness which means they may not experience any potential pain or discomfort.
“The network works with GPs, hospitals and specialists to ensure that when acute foot problems occur, patients are seen quickly and treated early. I urge people to read the leaflet and make themselves aware.
“Amputations are over 20 times more common in people with diabetes and there are too many people with the condition who do not understand that delays to treatment could result in amputation. Around 6,000 related amputations a year across the country are as a result of poor services and a lack of awareness.”
Recently 15,000 leaflets were sent to all foot clinics in the region so that people at high risk of foot ulcers have clear guidance about when to take action.
The booklet includes a card that people can use to remind them that they need to seek urgent medical attention if:
- their foot is red, warm or swollen
- there is a break in the skin or any discharge or oozing onto their socks or stockings
- either of these is accompanied by feeling unwell