'Amputations caused by diabetes have soared to record levels amid the obesity epidemic, official figures show.
The number of foot and leg amputations linked to the condition has risen almost 20 per cent in only four years, according to Public Health England.
Some 169 operations are taking place every week – the equivalent of one an hour – up from 142 four years earlier.
Diabetes UK, which analysed the figures, found there were 26,378 diabetes-related lower limb amputations over three years from 2014/15 to 2016/17.
This was an increase of 19.4 per cent from 22,092 between 2010/11 and 2012/13.
Diabetes is the country’s fastest growing health crisis, with the number of people suffering from the disease doubling over 20 years from 1.9million to 3.7million.
The problem is largely being driven by obesity, with 90 per cent of patients suffering from the type 2 form which is linked to lifestyle and diet.
But the charity said that even taking the scale of the problem into account, most amputations could be avoided if people with diabetes were given the necessary care.
They say many doctors miss the early signs of problems with feet and hands, and patients themselves underestimate the seriousness of foot care.
The NHS advises people with diabetes to see a doctor urgently if they notice a change of colour in their foot, extra swelling, redness or broken skin.
Dan Howarth, from Diabetes UK, said: ‘The shocking number of lower limb amputations related to diabetes grows year on year.'
Read more: One amputation every HOUR: The toll of Britain's diabetes epidemic revealed as number of limbs cut off due to the condition soars to record levels
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