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Why is the trend for lower limb amputations in Denmark going down compared to the UK where it’s going up?

Why is the trend for lower limb amputations in Denmark going down compared to the UK where it’s going up?
Posted on November 01, 2016
Archive : November 2016
Category : Blog

We came across a Danish study of 11 years, published in 2013, that was of particular interest as it actually identified a reduction in lower extremity amputations, of people that have diabetes.

At present, not only in the UK but also worldwide, diabetes is on the rise and is reaching epidemic proportions. This is causing widespread concern globally for public health as well as economically.

As we know, diabetes can lead to diabetic foot disease, which quite often results in amputation of some part of the lower limbs. This includes not only toes and feet, but more major amputations of the lower leg up to the knee.

On a purely personal level, amputations not only severely reduce the quality of life of the individual, but they can also lead to financial hardship of the family, if the main breadwinner is the one who has had a lower limb amputated.

Here in the UK, the numbers of amputations is steadily increasing; last year we were told that there are 135 amputations due to diabetes per week. The most recent figures are now 140 per week…

Where was this study carried out?

This study, that demonstrated a reduction of lower extremity amputations due to diabetes, was carried out in Denmark between 2000 and 2011.

This study was specifically carried out at the Steno Diabetes Centre, the biggest diabetes clinic in Scandanavia.

Their results showed a significant reduction in lower extremity amputations in both men and women with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The largest reduction of amputations observed over this time was among men and women with Type 2 diabetes. In particular there was a decline in major lower extremity amputations.

This study shows that there are countries in the world that are managing to buck the trend of increasing rates of amputations from diabetic complications. From what we have heard, Denmark has a very good diabetic footcare policy and if this study is anything to go by, it is working. Obviously the study was carried out at a dedicated Diabetes Centre so we can only assume that the 11000 people taking part in the study were given the best care possible. If these are the results of this dedicated care and attention, then we should be looking at what they do, to try and apply it to the UK.

We plan to look for further information of how the Danish ‘do diabetic footcare’ for a future blog, but in the meantime if you would like more information on this study look here.


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