18 October 2017

Take 8: Diabetes complications being missed

Clinical Diabetes

People with diabetes are being checked for complications haphazardly – leading to preventable amputations and blindness.

“This is a huge question because we know that often the complications get missed,” says associate professor and GP Ralph Audehm.

Only around 60% of people with diabetes get a retinal screen every two years, which is far below what it should be, he says.

“And yet when you think about blindness and its impact on a person, you think they’d be clamouring to have their eyes tested on a regular basis,” he says.

Around half of amputations are preventable with early intervention but foot checks on people with diabetes are rarely done twice a year, as recommended.

“So, when you look at someone’s foot we need to obviously check for their neuropathy, their circulation, we need to look at the structure,” says Associate Professor Audehm.

“If they have hammer toes, bunions, callouses, these people are at a higher risk and they need to be referred to a podiatrist.”