Upcoming Punjab, federal governments urged to establish more foot clinics in the province and country to prevent disability, mortality from diabetes

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Despite having millions of diabetics in Punjab, there are only four diabetic foot clinics operating in public and private sector in Lahore where hundreds of people with Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFUs) are reporting on daily basis, expert diabetologists said on Sunday and urged the upcoming Punjab and federal governments to establish diabetes and foot clinics at tehsil, district and tertiary-care hospitals to prevent amputations and save lower limbs of diabetic patients.

“Diabetic Foot Ulcers have become a global challenge including Pakistan and in Punjab alone, thousands of people with diabetes lose their legs due to diabetic foot ulcers or injuries. Evidence-based research shows that after establishment of specialized clinics, amputation rate reduced almost half in Pakistan so we need more specialized foot clinics in Punjab and rest of the country on urgent basis”, said Dr. Muhamamd Arshad Siddiqui, Incharge of Mayo Hospital Lahore’s Diabetes and Foot Clinic while speaking at National Association of Diabetes Educators of Pakistan (Nadep) Diabetes Foot Con 2018 here at a local hotel on Sunday.

The international diabetes conference is being organized by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) MENA region in Collaboration with Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE) Karachi and DFC of Mayo Hospital Lahore where international speakers from United States, Europe, Middle East and Fast Eastern countries, Africa and different cities of Pakistan are presenting their research work on diabetic foot ulcers, prevention of amputations and cardiovascular diseases and proper diabetes control through use of insulin to reduce disability and mortality.

Dr. Arshad Siddiqui said prevalence of diabetes prevalence was second highest in Punjab followed by Sindh in Pakistan but added that due to poor and sedentary lifestyle, lack of the habit of exercise and heavy easting by people in Punjab, rate of diabetes was climbing in the province. “But if Lahoris in particular and others in general start jogging and running on daily basis, they can continue with their ‘current eating habits and practices”, he added.

Urging upcoming Punjab government to establish Diabetic Foot Clinics at Tehsil, District and Tertiary-care level hospitals in the province, he said four foot clinics in entire Lahore which were catering to the patient needs of many other surrounding cities were ‘insufficient’ and called for investing more on prevention of diabetes to keep the younger generation in Lahore and rest of Punjab safe from diabetes.
IDF President of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region Prof. Abdul Basit claimed that there were roughly 400,000 people living with Diabetic Foot Ulcers in Pakistan and added that of them around 8-10 percent patients were at the risk of losing their lower limbs.
There are still many cities in Pakistan where no foot clinics are operating to treat and guide diabetics about possible damage to their feet, he said but added that they had so far established 115 foot clinics in entire Pakistan while they were planning to increase this number to 600 clinics throughout the country.

Chairman of the NADEP Diabetes Foot Con 2018 Prof. Zahid Miyan said doctors should educate their patients about dangers of developing foot injuries as once a diabetic gets foot ulcer, he or she is at risk of having amputation and added that specialized footwear had a very important role in preventing diabetic foot ulcers.
“People with diabetes should also take balanced diet, having more protein and lesser carbohydrates as our research shows that proteins have an important role in preventing and healing foot injuries”, he added.

American nutritionist Barbara Eichorst spoke on the “Importance of Nutrition in the Healing of Diabetic Foot Ulcers” and said balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals play a vital role in healing the foot injuries and added research showed that tight glycemic control through balanced diet with low carbs improved healing of foot ulcers.

Prof. Uzma Khan from United States spoke on Peripheral Neuropathy in which patients with diabetes lose sensation in their feet and urged doctors to guide patients about taking care of their feet on regular basis, urging patients to take care of their feet through diet control and exercise.
Three researchers from BIDE Karachi gave their presentation on “Art of Healthy Cooking”, in which experts Jawaria Mahmood, Mehwish Sheraz and Tahmina spoke on cooking techniques to help in diabetes control at homes.

Conference was also addressed by Dr. Zulfikar G. Abbass from Tanzania who spoke about “Diabetic Foot Attack” in the world and called for declaring this is as world medical emergency, while many other doctors including Prof. Amber Malik, Dr. Saidf-ul-Haque, Erum Ghafoor, Dr. Fauzia Moyeen, and others also addressed the concluding session of the moot.

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