LAHORE: To prevent amputations and save lower limbs of diabetic patients, the upcoming Punjab and federal governments should establish diabetes and foot clinics at tehsil, district and tertiary-care hospitals.
This was the crux of views expressed at the National Association of Diabetes Educators of Pakistan (Nadep) Diabetes Foot Con 2018 held at a local hotel on Sunday.
The international diabetes conference is being organised by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) MENA region in collaboration with Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE) Karachi and DFC of Mayo Hospital Lahore.
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International speakers from the United States of America, Europe, Middle East and Fast Eastern countries, Africa and different cities of Pakistan are presenting their research work on DFUs, prevention of amputations and cardiovascular diseases and proper diabetes control through use of insulin to reduce disability and mortality.
There are only four diabetic foot clinics operating in public and private sector in Lahore while there are hundreds of people with Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFUs) who visit clinics every day.
“DFUs have become a global challenge, including Pakistan. In Punjab alone, thousands of people with diabetes lose their legs due to DFUs or injuries. Evidence-based research shows that after establishment of specialised clinics, amputation rate reduced almost half in Pakistan so we need more specialised foot clinics in Punjab and the rest of the country on an urgent basis,” said Dr Muhamamd Arshad Siddiqui, Incharge of Mayo Hospital Lahore’s Diabetes and Foot Clinic.
Dr Siddiqui said prevalence of diabetes was the second highest in Punjab followed by Sindh in Pakistan. He added that due to poor and sedentary lifestyle, lack of the habit of exercise and overeating by people in Punjab, rate of diabetes was increasing in the province.
IDF President of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region Dr Abdul Basit claimed that there were roughly 400,000 people living with Diabetic Foot Ulcers in Pakistan and of them around 8-10 percent patients were at the risk of losing their lower limbs.
There are still many cities in Pakistan where no foot clinics are operating to treat and guide diabetics about possible damage to their feet, he said. He added that they had so far established 115 foot clinics in Pakistan while they were planning to increase this number to 600 clinics throughout the country.
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Chairman of the NADEP Diabetes Foot Con 2018 Dr Zahid Miyan said doctors should educate their patients about dangers of developing foot injuries as once a diabetic gets foot ulcer, the patient is at risk of having amputation. Specialised footwear had a very important role in preventing diabetic foot ulcers, he added.
“People with diabetes should also take a balanced diet, have more protein and lesser carbohydrates as our research shows that proteins have an important role in preventing and healing foot injuries,” he said.
American nutritionist Barbara Eichorst, who spoke on the importance of nutrition in the healing of DFUs, said that a balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals play a vital role in healing the foot injuries.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2018.
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