A new large-scale study has shown that individuals with diabetes who develop foot ulcers are at greater risk of dying prematurely compared to those who have not experienced these complications. This research highlights the need for improved detection and control of those diabetics with foot ulcers.
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Approximately 3.7 million people in the UK have diabetes, including an estimated 850,000 individuals who have the condition but do not know it yet. Diabetes can wreak havoc on a person’s blood vessels and nerves, especially if their blood sugar spirals out of control regularly.
Poor circulation and nerve damage in the feet makes people vulnerable to cuts or other injuries which can progress into poorly healing ulcers or sores. In extreme cases, this can lead to amputation of the foot or leg.
17,830 patients with diabetes were examined in a study, of those 3095 were diagnosed with foot ulcers and 14, 735 without. An extra 58 deaths per 1000 people each year were reported among those with diabetic related foot ulcers.
Those diabetics with foot ulcers also showed more cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, and were more likely to die from cardiovascular related causes. Notably, approximately half of the additional deaths in the study were due to cardiovascular disease, such as stroke or heart attack.
Basically what this study illustrates is that more screening processes need to be in place to monitor patients for possible development of ulcers as they add to the complications and risks already common for those with diabetes.