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The impact of diabetic foot in modern societies

Diabetes consist a major public health threat in Europe, affecting about 9,1% of the population. The financial impact is estimated to 7-10 billion € to direct yearly costs[1], across EU. Leaving aside the costs, related complications treatments add considerable burdens to the patients, mentally and physically. Thus, healthcare providers press for an easily deployable, low-cost solution to eliminate avoidable, diabetes related, complications.

Historical data describe accurately the magnitude of this situation. According to the World Health Organization, the global prevalence of diabetes among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014, when 422 million adults in the world suffered this disease. To make matters worse, forecasts do not indicate a declining trend[2]. Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are one of the most common complications of diabetes, caused by neuropathic (nerve) and vascular (blood vessel) problems.

On an annual base, up to 4% of patients with diabetes develop a foot ulcer and 10-15% of those with diabetes will have at least one-foot ulcer during their lifetime[3]. Chronic DFUs are the most common indications for hospitalization for diabetic patients, and the direct cause for 50% of all non-traumatic amputations[4].

The cost of care for patients with a foot ulcer is 5.4 times higher after the first ulcer appearance, as they require more frequently emergency department visits and longer stays. In this regard, the global market for diabetes diagnostics devices and systems generated a revenue of $8.01million in 2014 and it is forecast to reach 12.4 billion € by 2022.

To combat this significant challenge, the PHOOTONICS project is developing a data-driven, user friendly, and patient-oriented medical device concept, that will diagnose diabetic foot ulcers and prevent frequent, costly and avoidable complications of DFUs.


[1] “Foot Diseases: Advances in Research and Treatment: 2011 Edition”. Q Ashton Acton, Scholarly Editions.

[2] “Diabetes Fact Sheet” November 2016- World Health Organization

[3] “Incidence of diabetic foot ulcer and lower extremity amputation among Medicare beneficiaries, 2006 to 2008” D. J. Margolis et al, Data Points Publication Series, 2011

[4] Boulton AJ, Connor H, Cavanagh PR. Chichester, UK: Wiley; 2000. The foot in diabetes; pp. 245–60.


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