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Lower Limb Lost To Diabetes Every 30 Seconds

1 Lower Limb Lost To Diabetes Every 30 Seconds, UN Agency Says

New York, Nov 14 2005

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today marked World Diabetes Day by pointing out that every 30 seconds, a lower limb is lost to the disease somewhere in the world.

Kidney failure or blindness can affect individuals with diabetes, but complications of the foot are "one of the most serious and costly" effects of the disease, the Geneva-based WHO said.

It is estimated that more than 170 million people are suffering from diabetes globally and this number is expected to double by 2030. Of all lower extremity amputations, 40 to 70 per cent are related to diabetes, according to the agency.

WHO said it is possible to reduce amputation rates by at least 50 per cent, through a care strategy that combines prevention, treatment of foot ulcers, close monitoring, and education of people with diabetes and healthcare professionals.

"It is unacceptable that so much disability and death are caused by leg amputations, when the solutions are clear and affordable," said Dr. Catherine Le Galès-Camus, WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. "Small investments in prevention and education can mean fewer leg amputations, increased quality of life for individuals and dramatic reductions in health-care costs."

Beyond prevention of diabetes complications, type 2 diabetes, which accounts for the vast majority of the disease, is also largely preventable. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by addressing risk factors such as physical inactivity and overweight/obesity.

These risk factors are shared by other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. As such, WHO advocates an integrated framework for the prevention, control and treatment of all chronic diseases.


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