Shire Urges People with Diabetes to Check Their Feet for Wounds on World Diabetes Day

One in four people with diabetes could experience a diabetic foot ulcer in their lifetime

Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are one of the most common, yet treatable, complications in people with diabetes. As part of World Diabetes Day, Shire is today urging diabetes patients to have their feet checked and visit healtogether.com to better understand the complications associated with diabetes.

“On World Diabetes Day, we want to emphasize the importance of regular check-ups and urge patients to visit their doctor or local wound care center to have their feet checked. Symptoms of diabetes complications, such as DFUs, are frequently overlooked and can have devastating consequences,” says Adi Mohanty, interim head of Shire’s regenerative medicine business unit.

Of the more than 26 million people in the US with diabetes, about half will develop peripheral neuropathy, a loss of feeling in the lower extremities. This nerve damage means an open sore or injury on the foot may go unnoticed until it becomes infected, which can eventually lead to the need for a partial or full amputation of the foot or lower leg. Diabetes is responsible for more than half of all lower limb amputations performed in the US. Each year there are about 88,000 non-injury amputations, and 50 - 75% of them are due to diabetes. About 85% of amputations start with foot ulcers, which develop in about 12% of people with diabetes.

“Wound care centers are great places to have your feet checked,” says Han Pham Hulen, MD and medical director, Medical City Dallas Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine. “Staff at these facilities are extremely experienced in identifying and treating diabetic foot ulcers, which often go unnoticed. They specialize in early diagnosis, advanced wound care therapy, and educating patients on how to prevent or treat DFUs, so we encourage diabetics to visit their local centers.”

Earlier this year, Shire teamed up with celebrity chef Charles Mattocks on his national tour, The Diabetic You, promoting diabetes awareness and education, a theme of World Diabetes Day since 2009. The mobile tour offers education, as well as healthy eating tips in an effort to increase people’s awareness of diabetes and help them manage the condition.

Shire also recently launched an educational resource, healtogether.com, which is designed to educate patients with diabetes and their caregivers on identifying, treating, and preventing diabetic foot ulcers. The website is the foundation of Shire’s nationwide HealTogether program which is dedicated to promoting proper foot care for people with diabetes, educating individuals about DFUs, and encouraging those with non-healing DFUs to talk to their doctors about seeing a wound care specialist. To access more information on diabetic foot ulcers please visit healtogether.com.