Dubai, UAE: Diabetic foot ulcers are the most common cause of lower limb amputation in the Middle East, as well as across the globe. Experts at the upcoming Arab Health Wound Care Conference in January highlight this hidden danger of the diabetic epidemic and urge patients in the Middle East to take responsibility for the management of their diabetes. Worldwide statistics suggest that up to 25% of those with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer and more than half of all foot ulcers will become infected, requiring hospitalization and 1 in 5 will require an amputation.
“Amputation prevention needs to start with education at the Primary Healthcare level,” says Jan-Marie Morgan, Practice Development Nurse – Surgery, Rashid Hospital, Dubai, and Chair of the Middle East Wound Care Conference taking place on 23 January 2012 at the Arab Health Exhibition & Congress in Dubai. “When patients are diagnosed with diabetes, they have a responsibility to learn as much as they can about preventing the complications of uncontrolled blood sugar, such as blindness, kidney failure and amputation. We, as health care professionals, also have a responsibility to offer all the education that is required for a person with Diabetes to live a long and happy life.”
“I would love to be in the prevention business, but instead we are often trying to fix serious problems that were totally preventable from the beginning. People in the UAE are admitted to the hospital with severe foot infections or gangrene, and by that point it is often too late to help them,” she adds. According to the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance or SALSA, USA, poorly controlled diabetes frequently results in nerve damage and poor circulation to the legs and feet. Patients gradually lose their ability to sense foot pain or symptoms of injury. This loss of protective sensation makes it easy for blisters, cuts, and sores to go unnoticed, leading to infection, foot ulcers, reduced mobility, and often major amputation.
“Diabetic foot care is not only a major issue for diabetic patients, but it may also pose a massive burden on our healthcare system,” says Ms. Morgan. “At the Middle East Wound Care Conference, we will be discussing the economic sense of good wound care management, as well as topics such as nutrition, education and best practice in wound care.” More than 70,000 medical and healthcare professionals are expected to descend on the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre in January for the 37th Arab Health Exhibition and Congress. At the Arab Health Congress, around 6,000 delegates are attending 17 leading continuing medical education (CME) accredited conference streams. The event will be offering the equivalent of 40 days of continuing medical education, ensuring that patients in the Middle East are receiving world class medical care and diagnosis.
For more information about the Middle East Wound care Conference, please visit www.arabhealthonline.com, or call +971 4 407 2743.
Sources: Singh, Armstrong, Lipsky. J Amer Med Assoc 2005, Lavery, Armstrong, et al. Diabetes Care 2006
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