All blue for World Diabetes Day!
The fourteenth of November is World Diabetes Day (WDD) - a global initiative to raise awareness of diabetes with this year’s theme ‘access to diabetes education’ underpinning the larger multi-year theme of 'access to care'.
The colour blue is associated with this campaign (if you see buildings lit up blue on 14 November, the chances are it is in support of WDD).
So on 14 November I will be wearing blue and also in support of Diabetes UK’s initiative #NailingDiabetes, I have painted my toe nails…(by no means an expert job but nevertheless they are painted and my feet have had a little pamper too!).
Footcare is an incredibly important aspect of living with diabetes. People living with diabetes need to check their feet every day and the healthcare professionals who support / treat them need to explain how to look after their feet, what a foot problem may look or feel like, as well as when and how to seek help. Good daily footcare involves:
Inspect both feet (all around including nails, heels, soles and between toes)
Wash and dry (including between toes)
Moisturise (ideally with a cream which contains urea or glycerine)
Check footwear is supportive, free from damage (holes or tears) and ensure nothing has fallen into the footwear.
The cost of diabetic foot care in England alone is staggering - more than the combined cost of breast, prostate and lung cancers. It is estimated that this year over £1 billion will be spent on ulceration and amputation (up from £837-962 million in 2014-15).
In England alone, there is more than one diabetes related foot amputation taking place every hour!
The majority of diabetic foot ulcers and amputations are avoidable (approx. 80% according to research). I am sure that you would agree that prevention is better than cure! There is still much work to do in this area with education at the heart of it.
Helping people living with diabetes to avoid foot ulcers in the first place has to be a focus surely? Through education of all involved…
Healthcare Professionals (so that they have the appropriate knowledge and skills to undertake diabetic foot checks in line with current guidelines and best practice)
People living with diabetes (to understand the importance of good daily footcare, ensure attendance of healthcare appointments and when to seek medical help)
Carers (paid and unpaid)
Communication and collaboration is key to save lives, improve quality of lives and reduce healthcare budgets!
Technology will be playing an increasing role, not just in the form of better (electronic) care record sharing across the health and social care sectors, but also in the form of innovative products and treatments. A few are listed below and there will be many more:
Neuropad screening test for detecting autonomic neuropathy (nerve damage) https://www.neuropad.co.uk/
Smart insoles to protect against foot ulcers https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/smart-insole-protect-foot-ulcers https://thinkmagazine.mt/smart-insoles-for-diabetic-patient-monitoring/
A smart shoe being developed for preventing foot ulcers https://sti.epfl.ch/diabetes-a-smart-shoe-to-help-reduce-amputations/ https://formulaire.unige.ch/outils/limesurveyfac/medecine/index.php/377376?lang=en&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=davidgarmstrong&utm_content=facts&fbclid=IwAR1GX-lsXPbn3TxKWCWtud-xSk2bkRYhw8fBOoIMBF3SBcPy6uGUfhQPwLI
Smart diabetic boot allows remote patient monitoring https://www.dpaonthenet.net/article/192843/The-world-s-first-smart-diabetic-boot-allows-remote-patient-monitoring.aspx
Spinal cord stimulation for painful neuropathy https://www.healthawareness.co.uk/managing-pain/spinal-cord-stimulation-brings-new-hope-to-painful-diabetic-neuropathy/
Most people I know do know at least one person living with diabetes. Not surprising as in the U.K. there are more than 4.9 million people who have diabetes (approx. 7% of the population); an estimated 850,000 are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. In care homes, the national prevalence of diabetes is 25%.
According to Diabetes UK (the UK’s leading diabetes charity), 13.6 million people are now at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the UK. To understand more about this and your personal risk of developing type 2 diabetes, find out more at https://www.diabetes.org.uk/preventing-type-2-diabetes
If you are living with diabetes, make sure you attend all your healthcare appointments and have all the recommended checks done…be informed and empowered regarding your diabetes care so as to avoid preventable problems in the future – Diabetes UK has a wealth of information to support you: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes
So perhaps you may think about having a ‘blue day’ on 14 November? Wear blue, paint nails blue, or just like and share this blog to help raise awareness.