South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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Tropical diabetic hand syndrome: prevention through education

K Akhuemokhan, F Bakpa, P Okokhere


Tropical diabetic hand syndrome describes an acute symptom complex found in patients with diabetes in the tropics, usually following minor trauma to the hand. Two different patients, both previously diagnosed with diabetes, suddenly developed an abscess of the hand that progressively worsened, and became an ulcer that was difficult, to manage at the referring private hospitals. The hands and lives of both patients were saved. The frequency of these cases appears to be increasing. Aggressive glycaemic control is a vital control measure for upper limb sepsis. Education remains the most important preventive tool in underdeveloped countries, and should remain an integral part of prevention.

Keywords: tropical diabetic hand syndrome, trauma, abscess, sepsis, education
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