As reported by the U.K.’s Daily Mail, the obesity epidemic is feeding into a record-high 160 amputations per week, according to the most recent health figures, which adds up to more than 8,500 procedures throughout England each year. That works out to be something like 23 amputations per day.
In most cases — nine out of 10 — patients have Type 2 diabetes, which is mostly caused by obesity, which can be a result of inactivity and too little exercise.
The organization Diabetes U.K. is warning that out-of-control obesity rates are most definitely causing the elevated number of amputations, as two out of three adults in the country are considered obese.
And there’s this: The organization also said that the amputations are life-threatening in that eight out of 10 diabetic amputees die within five years of having their surgery.
The real kicker, says Diabetes U.K., a charitable group, is that four-out-of-five surgeries are completely preventable.
That said, there is a lack of understanding and knowledge about the severity of obesity and the diabetic conditions being overweight exacerbates. The organization noted that more than one-third of Brits, for instance, don’t know that foot ulcers are a major complication of diabetes and are the biggest causes of amputations.
Also, as in the United States, obesity-and-diabetes-related care is hugely expensive. In the U.K., £1 in every £140 (a Great British Pound is equal to $1.34) spent by the National Health Service, Britain’s socialized medicine authority, goes to foot care for diabetics. The U.S., by comparison, spent more than $83 billion on in-hospital care of diabetics in 2012. In 2014, care for foot ulcers alone added $9 billion to $13 billion to the nation’s healthcare tab.
In England, Diabetes U.K. is calling for better diabetes foot care and services that are likely to include educating diabetics to the dangers foot ulcers and amputations can create.
“Diabetes-related amputations devastate lives,” said Dan Howarth, head of the organization. “But the quality and availability of services still varies significantly across England.
“We want to see greater commitment from government to improving diabetes foot services, ensuring routine, high-quality care to those who need it, regardless of where they live,” he added.
Howarth is urging all diabetic patients to be very mindful of the potential to develop ulcers, which occur with peripheral neuropathy and atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease, both common in diabetics. He said if discovered, patients need to seek immediate care because “a matter of hours can make the difference between losing and keeping a limb.”
“While it’s positive that the majority of people are aware that amputation is a complication of diabetes, it’s very worrying that so many don’t know the dangers posed by foot ulcers,” he added. “That’s why it’s essential that people living with diabetes know how to look after their feet and that they check them daily.” (Related: How Hyperbaric Therapy can Help in Diabetic Foot Ulcer.)
Though the U.S. continues to spend billions treating obesity-related disease and illnesses, in 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that diabetic-related amputations had fallen dramatically.
The health agency said that in adults aged 40 and older with diagnosed diabetes, amputations declined 65 percent between 1996 and 2008.
“The drop in rates of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations among U.S. adults with diagnosed diabetes is certainly encouraging, but more work is needed to reduce the disparities among certain populations,” said Nilka Ríos Burrows, an epidemiologist with CDC′s Division of Diabetes Translation and co-author of the study.
“We must continue to increase awareness of the devastating health complications of diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of lower–limb amputations in the United States,” Burrows added.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.