Categorized | National News

Foot Amputations Increasing In The Bahamas

The global prevalence of diabetes among adults over the age of 18 has risen from 4.7 per cent in 1980 to 8.5 per cent in 2014.

In The Bahamas, that rate increased from 6.7 per cent to 9.2 per cent in 2005 to 13.6 per cent in 2017, putting it at epidemic status.

Each year, more than more than one million diabetics lose at least a leg.

This translates to a lower limb being lost to the condition every 20 seconds around the world. 

Research has shown that 85 per cent of all amputations are preceded by an ulcer and can be prevented. 

The five-year death rate following a diabetic foot ulcer or amputation is almost 50 percent, higher than in persons with prostate cancer and breast cancer.

As Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands pointed out in his address to The Bahamas Podiatric Medical Association’s Conference Friday morning, foot complications are the source of major patient suffering, high emotion and financial costs,  not only to the individual, but the health care system.

“The frequency and severity of foot problems vary from region to region, largely because of the difference in socio-economic conditions, the type of foot wear worn and standards of foot care. 

“However, everywhere foot ulcers are a serious problem. They are the most prevalent problem with a yearly incidence of about 2-4 per cent and a life time incidence of about 15 and 25 percent. 

“We all know that the underlying factors that lead to ulceration include peripheral sensory neuropathy, foot deformity related to motor neuropathy, minor foot trauma and peripheral artery disease,” he said.

Dr. Sands added that preventing foot ulcer  is of paramount importance.

“We have now recognized that a multi-disciplinary team approach is probably the most effective way  in providing care and encouraging compliance and reinforcement of footcare practices by all specialties in the diabetes care team. 

“It has been shown that establishing and maintaining multi-disciplinary footcare teams can be associated with a drop in a number of diabetes related amputations.

“So podiatric medical care is a vital and increasingly valued, in  addition to this multi-disciplinary team,” said Dr. Sands.

Dr. Sands said his ministry is committed to ensuring that the available manpower and resources will be used to provide Bahamians with access to the care needed to prevent ulcer amputations.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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