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The number of people dying from a diabetes-related condition may be halved thanks to research at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.
The key is aggressive cardiovascular risk management linked to greater attention being given to glycaemic control, blood pressure and lipid management.
Studies had shown that patients suffering from a diabetic foot ulcer benefited significantly from a simple system of heart monitoring combined with the use of preventative medicines.
Foot ulcers are associated with heart disease and the experts realised that the appearance of such an ulcer suggested there was arterial damage elsewhere in the body.
Dr Matthew Young, consultant physician at the hospital, said: “By applying the principles of cardiovascular risk reduction, and by learning more about a patient’s cardiac health, we were able to offer them a more specialised package of care.
“These improvements have halved this death rate to under a quarter of foot ulcer patients dying within five years of their ulcer.”
After aspirin, statin therapy, ACE inhibitors and beta blockers were all prescribed, four-year mortality was cut in half. If this was repeated across the UK, said Dr Young, it would prolong the lives of tens of thousands of patients.
Copyright Press Association 2008