A brave shave for people with diabetes

When Roger Davies saw a cut on his foot, he thought nothing of it. Ultimately though, that scratch turned into an infection which in time led to the amputation of his toes.

Living with type 2 diabetes, the 69-year-old aged care resident at Bupa Edithvale isn't entirely sure how the wound first developed but warns others to be wary of their condition.

His plea is paired with a brave fundraiser that saw him shave off his hair and yeard (a beard that took a year to grow) for Diabetes Victoria.

"I have type 2 diabetes and had half my right foot amputated. I talked about the shave off as I had a big bushy beard and decided to do it so I could help out others,” Mr Davies said.

He is just one of just an estimated 4,400 people who have diabetes related amputations in Australia each year. Mr Davies’ shave raised $1092 which will go toward supporting, empowering and campaigning for all Victorians affected by, or at risk of, diabetes.

I didn't want to lose my foot but I had to. My advice to others living with diabetes is to try and shake it by staying on top of their health.
Roger Davies, Bupa Edithvale Resident

"I went for a job application at a wrecking yard about 12 years ago and had to do a medical and that’s when I found out that I had type 2 diabetes,” Mr Davies said.

Bupa ANZ’s Medical Services Director, Dr Tim Ross said that when people are diagnosed with diabetes, there’s an increase in the odds that they will need a toe, foot or leg amputated.

“Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body’s ability to manage blood glucose, is decreased, leading to glucose levels that are higher than is safe for you. This happens when cells in the pancreas, an organ near the stomach, stop producing sufficient insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose, and or the body stops recognising insulin, known as insulin resistance,” Dr Ross said.

“A person diagnosed with type 1 diabetes makes no insulin, whereas people living with type 2 diabetes tend to have a mixed picture of decreased insulin production, and insulin resistance. For people living with type 2 diabetes, an important part of management involves lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise and weight control.

“Our staff are committed to supporting and caring for residents in our homes who are living with diabetes through addressing nutrition, skin care, foot care, eye care, and managing high or low blood glucose levels.

“Amputation becomes a consideration when constant long-term high levels of sugar have done severe damage to blood vessels, most commonly in the lower legs and feet, affecting blood supply to the tissue which dies,” he said.

Diabetes Victoria CEO Craig Bennett shared Dr Ross’s sentiment.

“It’s people like Roger who make a real difference. We are so grateful for his contribution, which will help us to provide even more funding for vital diabetes research,” Mr Bennett said.

“In 2019, Diabetes Victoria is contributing $2.1 million to vital diabetes research projects. Of every dollar donated to Diabetes Victoria, 84 cents go directly to funding research or our extensive range of programs and services.”