New thermometer could reduce amputations in diabetics

Thu, 20 Jan 2011
A new handheld thermometer could help to reduce the number of ulcers and limb amputations in diabetics by offering a warning of potential complications. The battery powered device, which has been developed by Dibetica Solutions, provides a warning of the damage to limbs such as sores or ulcers that could lead to them being removed.

The device uses infrared light to measure changes in the temperature of your feet, with a rise indicating that there may be inflammation and damage. Patients are supposed to use the thermometer daily to measure six different places on each foot and compare the temperatures to give an early warning of potential problems and seek medical help.

Previous research has showed the device can lower ulcer rates by up to a third compared to people who were not using it, and a bigger clinical trial is also currently being carried out in Norway.

Cathy Moulton, clinical adviser at the charity Diabetes UK, commented "To reduce the risk of ulcers which could lead to amputations, Diabetes UK recommends that people with diabetes regularly check their feet looking for discolouration, damage to the skin, swollen areas, and if the foot feels very hot or cold."

It is estimated that about 100 people in the UK have an amputation due to diabetes every week, as the condition can result in significant damage to the nerves and blood vessels .
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