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GEHWOL Diabetes Report


GEHWOL Diabetes Report

 

On behalf of GEHWOL, the two market research companies IDS Germany and INSIGHT HEALTH surveyed doctors and diabetics every two years about risk awareness, performing important foot care measures, and recommended early detection and diagnosis measures as part of interdisciplinary diabetic care. A total of 123 doctors treating 3,119 diabetics were surveyed for the 2019 report. 33 percent of diabetics do not know that they need to do something for their feet. Four years ago the figure was 63 percent, two years ago it was 44 percent. Risk awareness has thus improved. This is good news. But the number of diabetics who are not or only insufficiently informed is still far too high. There is actually a clear plan. Once diabetes is diagnosed in a patient, he should receive training and learn to check his feet and keep them injury-free with care. In Germany this concerns six to eight million diabetics.

 

Expand diabetic training and podology care

The National Care Guideline for Diabetic Feet specifies training. But the reality looks different. Not even half of all diabetics have received such training - a structural problem. For only about 25 percent of podologists participate in care within the statutory health insurance system. This amounts to about 5,000 specialists. It doesn't take much to know that this is not sufficient in view of the rising diabetes case counts in Germany. Not even every second diabetic person receives podology care at this time. Therefore, the profession would urgently require an upgrade. Also, more patients would need to receive training by a diabetes consultant. Podologists are often the first point of contact and must be sufficiently qualified in order to instruct patients in independent foot care.

Risk factors for foot wounds

About one quarter of German diabetics are deemed to be patients at risk. That is, they are at high risk of developing a foot injury or wound. In 8,500 diabetics per year, this diabetic foot syndrome results in complete amputation of the foot, partial amputation in 30,400 patients. This means that the risk of amputation is three to ten times higher in diabetics than in non-diabetics. The main risk factors are: unsuitable footwear, neuropathy, insufficient blood circulation (peripheral arterial occlusive disease), sensitivity disorders (neuropathy), limited joint mobility, foot deformities, corneal calluses and a problematic psychosocial constellation. Above all, circulatory disorders are a major problem. As a result, wounds do not heal or heal poorly and thus considerably increase the risk of infection. The existence of an overlooked or uncontrollable foot infection in turn considerably worsens the prognosis for the patient.

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Closer monitoring

In order to identify patients at risk for diabetic foot disease at an early stage, certain defined preventive measures are necessary. To a large extent, the diagnostic measures are also implemented, but not always with the recommended frequency. However, this is an indispensable prerequisite for targeted prevention, in addition to the training of patients in foot care and podological care. For example, diabetics without neuropathy or circulatory disorder should present to their doctor once a year, but patients with neuropathy once every three to six months. If there is a circulatory disorder, a visit to the doctor is indicated every two to three months, and in the case of a previous foot wound or even an amputation, once every one to two months.

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You can read more results from the GEHWOL Diabetes Report here.

Those affected can find interesting information and practical tips on skin care for diabetes in our guide.

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