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The findings in an NHS report this week is putting the annual cost of diabetes-related amputation at £120M. This will come as a shock to many of our medical conditions travel insurance customers, particularly the travel insurance for diabetes customers.
The problem arises due to the damage diabetes can do to nerves and blood flow, the extremities of the body are normally worst affected. The lack of blood flow to the extremities can hinder the body clearing any infection on its own, or if you have lack of sensation in your feet or legs you may not realise that you have an infection until it has taken hold and it will not respond to antibiotics, leaving the only course of action, amputation.
However according to Diabetes UK with the correct foot care and education limb loss can be avoided. This corroborates previous research suggesting that up to 80% of diabetes-related amputations could be avoided. Diabetes UK is marking this research with a new campaign – Putting Feet First- which urges patients, the NHS and ministers to take foot-care seriously. The Charity has set a target of reducing diabetes-related amputations by 50% within 5 years.
Foot care for diabetics is particularly important when you are on holiday in a hot climate, you will be wearing flip flops or open toed shoes so we would urge our diabetes travel insurance customers to take extra care and be vigilant to any cracking or blisters on their feet. Like most medical conditions the sooner something is treated the more chance you have of a successful recovery.