Epidemiology of diabetic foot infections in an eastern Caribbean population: a prospective study

Type Journal Article - The Permanent Journal
Title Epidemiology of diabetic foot infections in an eastern Caribbean population: a prospective study
Volume 17
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 37-40
URL http://www.thepermanentejournal.org/issues/issues-index/browse/43-original-research-and-contribution​s/5119-diabetic-foot-infections.html
Introduction: This study evaluates the epidemiology of diabetic foot infections in an Eastern Caribbean nation in order to direct public health preventive measures.
Methods: We prospectively identified all patients with diabetic foot infections who were admitted to tertiary care hospitals across Trinidad and Tobago from July 2011 to June 2012. A questionnaire was used to collect data on demographics, patient knowledge, avoidance of risk factors for chronic diseases (a proxy to unhealthy lifestyles), and glycosylated hemoglobin measurements on admission as an index of blood glucose control. The data were analyzed with statistical software.
Results: There were 446 patients with diabetic foot infections (mean age = 56.9 years, standard deviation = 12.4 years). Most patients had Type 2 diabetes (93.3%) and were of Indo-Trinidadian (49.1%) or Afro-Trinidadian (41.7%) descent. There were preexisting complications of diabetes in 82.9% of patients with Type 2 diabetes: foot infections requiring hospitalization (70.2%), ischemic heart disease (32.5%), renal impairment (13.7%), and retinopathy (22.1%).
Despite most patients claiming compliance with treatment, 75% had glycosylated hemoglobin levels above 7.1% at presentation, and 49.3% continued unhealthy lifestyles. Despite the high prevalence of diabetic complications at admission, and despite 70% having had previous hospitalization for treatment of foot infections, only 57.4% of patients reported ever being counseled or taught about foot care by medical personnel.
Conclusions: There is room for improvement in public health strategies to prevent diabetic foot complications in this setting. Such strategies should focus on patient education with emphasis on lifestyle modification and compliance with medical therapy.

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