A new study has revealed that foot ulcers could increase the risk of premature death for people with diabetes.
The large-scale research, published in the latest edition of Diabetologia, involved analysis of 17,830 diabetic patients from eight studies published between 2006 and 2011. Of these, 3,095 were diagnosed with diabetic foot ulceration (DFU), which is a complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
During the follow-up, the London-based researchers found that 34 per cent of DFU patients died compared to 17 per cent of diabetic patients without foot ulcers.
Those with DFU also showed more cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, and as a result were more likely to die from cardiovascular causes, with roughly half of the additional mortalities caused by heart attack and stroke.
Robert Hinchliffe from St George’s, University of London, who co-led the study, said, “Our research, which is the largest and therefore most reliable study to date, shows that people with diabetes who have foot ulcers are at considerably higher risk of an earlier death compared to those patients without.
“We suspect that this may be due in part to the effect of infections among those with foot ulcers and the greater co-existence of cardiovascular disease and foot ulcers with diabetes although the reasons are not entirely clear.”
Professor Kausik Ray, who also co-led the research, commented, “Our results warrant further investigation as to whether even greater control of risk factors such as blood pressure, blood glucose and early preventative screening can further reduce mortality among those with foot ulcers . There is likely an unmet potential to reduce deaths in this group.”

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