MP urges local diabetics to get their socks off

Important campaign: Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander is urging local diabetics to get on board the Get Your Socks Off campaign.

Important campaign: Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander is urging local diabetics to get on board the Get Your Socks Off campaign.

Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander has a simply message for the almost 10,000 Macarthur residents living with diabetes: 'Get Your Socks Off'.

There are currently 9970 living with all types of diabetes in the region.

Dr Freelander has thrown his support behind Diabetes Australia's campaign to reduce the number of preventable diabetes-related foot problems and amputations.

"Every year there are 10,000 hospital admissions for diabetes-related foot problems and around 4400 diabetes-related amputations in Australia - and 85 per cent of these are preventable," he said. "According to the most recent figures, the outer south-west Sydney region - which includes the Macarthur electorate - ranks 16 (out of 18) in Australia in the rate of amputations.

"Every amputations is a tragedy for the person involved and their family and that's why I supported Diabetes Australia this sitting at Parliament House and got my socks off to raise awareness of this key issue."

Dr Freelander said there were simple steps people with diabetes could take to reduce their own personal risk of the kind of foot problems that can lead to serious issues and amputations.

"Check your feet every day," he said. "If you have trouble reaching your feet or seeing the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or ask a family member or carer for help.

"Some of the things to look out for include dry skin or excessive moisture, thickened skin such as calluses or corns, cracks, blisters or ulcers or any change in the shape and thickness of your nails.

"The most important thing is to seek help early - if you think there is any foot problem, see your GP or podiatrist and make sure you get your feet checked regularly.

"Early treatment can help prevent problems escalating.

"The good news is we have a growing network of diabetes High Risk Foot Services around the country, with expert interdisciplinary teams of health professionals who can help prevent amputations of toes and limbs."

Dr Freelander said if everyone played their part, Australia could end diabetes-related amputations within a generation.