What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.
There are 2 main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes – where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes – where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells do not react to insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. According to the NHS statistics, in the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.
During pregnancy, some women experience gestational diabetes which must be managed very carefully for the safety of both mother and baby. This is caused when women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
The main symptoms of diabetes are:
- Feeling very thirsty
- Frequent urination
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Weight changes
- Slow healing cuts
- Blurred vision
Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days.
Type 2 diabetes can develop over a longer time period and can be reversed with careful management.
What are the complications associated with diabetes?
People living with diabetes are much more likely to experience health complications than the general population.
The most common complications are:
- Kidney failure
- Heart attacks
- Premature death
Diabetics are two and a half times more likely to have a heart attack and twice as likely to have a stroke than a non-diabetic. They are at significant risk of ulceration and the associated infections, and in serious cases, may require a lower limb amputation due to complications such as Charcot Arthropathy.
Therefore, it is crucial that their condition is handled swiftly and correctly, to avoid any further difficulties.
Complications surrounding diabetes can occur as a result of substandard care from a healthcare professional, which ultimately could have been prevented due to misdiagnosis or poor treatment of diabetes.
What is the most common cause of Charcot Arthropathy?
Diabetes is considered to be the most common cause of Charcot arthropathy, although it can be caused by other medical conditions.
When a patient has diabetes and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), they are more at risk of developing Charcot foot.
Charcot foot is a serious foot complication that both diabetic patients and clinicians must be aware of. It can be difficult to deal with but having treatment as early as possible can reduce the risk of further problems, like developing a foot ulcer, permanent changes to the architecture of the foot, which may result in the need for amputation.
What are the signs and symptoms of Charcot foot?
The signs and symptoms of Charcot foot may include:
- Heat across the foot
- Change in foot colour
- Change in foot shape
Often, this can occur after a non-traumatic trip or slip that a non-diabetic patient would not otherwise notice but can lead to a subtle fracture.
If a diabetic patient reports any of these symptoms, the advice must be x-ray, followed by a repeat x-ray within 14 days. During that time, weight must be taken off the foot immediately, and an offloading boot provided.
If weight bearing continues during the initial period, there is a significant risk that the bony structure of the foot will change and cause a permanent deformation. Due to this, there is a profound risk of ulceration, which can lead to osteomyelitis. This significantly increases the risk of amputation.
A delay in diagnosis of Charcot Arthropathy can result in serious harm.
How we can help?
If you think that you may have suffered an avoidable delay in diagnosis of diabetes or Charcot, or poor management our specialist medical negligence team can help.
While no amount of compensation can make up for a life changing injury or the loss of a loved one, we can assist by investigating what happened and help by providing answers. We can recover compensation for the pain and suffering, as well as loss of earnings, aids and equipment such as prosthetics or specialist orthotics, care and adaptation costs.
Our specialist team have many years of experience helping those affected by management of diabetes.
Find out how we can help you
We're ready to help you make your medical negligence compensation claim today. Contact our specialist solicitors for a free initial chat about your situation and find out how you can get started. Use our online enquiry form or call us at 01392 207 020.