Diabetic patients are at high risk for developing serious foot problems with potential loss of limb. Understanding the risk factors is essential to prevent complications in the diabetic population. In this study we compared awareness of diabetic foot disease and the diabetic education system in a group of Turkish and English patients with Type 2 diabetes. At outpatient clinics, a questionnaire consisting of 7 questions concerning awareness about diabetic foot disease was given to patients. One hundred and fifteen Turkish ( 79 women, 36 men, mean age 59.0±12.6 years) and 147 English (72 women, 75 men, mean age 62.2±10.1 years) patients completed the questionnaire. In Turkey 56% of the patients and in U.K 76% of the patients had been given education by health care professionals (p<0.001). In England diabetic foot education was given mainly by chiropodists ( 32%) and specialist nurses ( 22%); in Turkey educators were mainly specialist doctors (58%). Every answer was scored as informed (2), misinterpreted (1), and not informed (0) and a total score was obtained for each patient. Total score was not different between the Turkish and English patients. In the uneducated Turkish patients group, total score was significantly lower than in the educated group (p<0.01). That difference was not observed in the English population. When each question was evaluated separately, the English population was found to be more aware of diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease, but less concerned about the development of diabetic foot complications in themselves. Both groups were equally aware of the danger of diabetic foot lesions. In conclusion, compared to the Turkish diabetic population, a larger percentage of the diabetic English population received professional education. In the Turkish patients' group, professional education tended to improve consciousness of diabetic foot lesions while this did not influence the awareness of the English patients regarding this complication.
Keywords: Diabetic foot, education, education programs