Tuesday 10 March 2009 (14 Rabi` al-Awwal 1430 

      Riyadh has 3 diabetes amputations each day
      RIYADH: Some 90 people a month have a foot amputated due to diabetes in 
the Saudi capital, a doctor said yesterday, expressing concern about the number.

      Diabetes-linked amputations have to be resorted to increasingly on 
patients at younger ages, said Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Gannass, foot and ankle surgeon 
at the King Abdulaziz National Guard Medical City in Riyadh. "We have three 
cases every day of amputated feet due to diabetes in Riyadh," Al-Gannass said 
in an interview, adding that he could not provide a figure for such cases 
across the Kingdom.

      "It is the No. 2 reason for admission (to hospitals) in the Kingdom after 
trauma," he said.

      Al-Gannass called the level of diabetes in the country "shocking," 
attributing it to poor diet and high sugar consumption, lack of exercise and 
smoking, and said one of the worst complications, diabetic foot, is on the rise.

      Diabetes occurs when the body cannot convert sugar, starches and other 
foods into energy due to lack of insulin or because the conversion process is 
not working properly.

      Diabetic foot - involving lack of feeling, ulcers that do not heal, bone 
softening, gangrene and other complications - results from nerve damage and 
constricted blood flow in the foot.

      The worst cases lead to amputations, after which the patient has on 
average only a five-year lifespan, Al-Gannass said.

      Some 25 to 27 percent of all people in the country have diabetes, 
according to government figures. "This number is really high. In every house, 
there is a mother or father or son who has diabetes," he said. He said the 
amputations are taking up a growing number of hospital beds that could be used 
for other treatments

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