Diabetes and diabetic foot ulcers: an often hidden problem

  • Andy Zoepke Smith & Nephew
  • Bronwyn Green
Keywords: diabetes, diabetic foot ulcers,


Diabetes affects an estimated 16 million people in the USA. Just over half are aware that they have the disease. It is one of the leading causes of disease-related deaths in the USA. Diabetes and its related complications claim the lives of approximately 190 000 Americans annually. In South Africa, the situation is just as dire. Between four to six million people have diabetes. Diabetes mellitus represents a group of chronic diseases that are characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood when the body does not produce enough insulin, or doesn’t produce insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone that is necessary for the metabolism of sugar, starches and other foods. As a result, blood sugar rises far above normal levels, and over time, begins to damage organs and tissues. Patients with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, are at significant risk of acquiring a number of health complications associated with the eyes, feet, heart, blood vessels and the kidneys.

Author Biographies

Andy Zoepke, Smith & Nephew
Clinical Manager Smith & Nephew
Bronwyn Green
Wound Care Consultant
General Review