Thermometer can save loss of limbs in diabetes

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

LONDON - A new battery powered thermometer could greatly reduce the number of ulcers and limb amputations in people with diabetes.

The device provides early warning of complications which can damage limbs to such an extent that they need amputation if left untreated.

It has been developed by US-based Dibetica Solutions to be used at home by people with diabetes and some existing nerve damage.

It uses infrared light to measure changes in foot temperature as a rise is a sign of inflammation and damage, the Daily Mail reports.

The readings can help alert a patient that a sore or ulcer is developing, before it even breaks the surface of the skin. They can then seek medical attention.

The gadget is designed to be used daily. The patient measures six sites on each foot and compares the temperatures.

If this temperature difference is more than four degrees Fahrenheit, for two days or more, a problem might be brewing and they need to contact their doctor.

Previous studies have shown the device cut ulcer rates by a third, compared to people who didn’t use the gadget.

Now a larger clinical trial is under way at Oslo University Hospital, Norway, to see whether the device can prevent future foot ulcers in patients who have previously suffered with this complaint.

Cathy Moulton, clinical adviser at the charity Diabetes UK, said the device could be successful as long as patients are vigilant in taking their temperature every morning.

“There is evidence showing that temperature changes could identify signs of neuropathy (nerve damage).”

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