Journal Articles

Things are finally looking up for the foot in diabetes

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Things are finally looking up for the foot in diabetes

William Jeffcoate
1 December 2009

Disease of the foot in diabetes can be truly awful, leading to festering, non-healing wounds that linger for many months, causing immense suffering and blighting the lives of both patients and their families (Boulton et al, 2005). The very idea of conditions such as ‘gangrene’ and ‘amputation’, or even the mention of their names, causes as much fear in the public mind as cancer, being linked to the threat of irreversible mutilation, and loss of independent living before an early death. Indeed, this fear is not without grounds, because the evidence is accumulating that five-year survival of any patient presenting with a foot ulcer (of any type, neuropathic or ischaemic) is only 50%, and this is far worse than the majority of cancers (Robbins et al, 2008). There are two main reasons for the outcome being so poor. First, is the complexity of the disease process and, second, the poor standards of care often demonstrated by healthcare professionals.

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