It's one of the most common diseases afflicting Americans, and it's also one of the primary causes of all amputations worldwide - diabetes.
According to the Limb Loss Coalition, vascular disease is responsible for 54% of all amputations, including complications from diabetes. Trauma comes in as the number two cause in 45% of cases. What's even more eye-opening is the fact that of all individuals with a lower limb amputation due to diabetes, up to 55% will require additional amputation of the second leg within three years.
If you're a diabetic or a diabetic amputee, there are several important things you need to know that can help you avoid future or existing complications. The most important thing to remember is that self-care is absolutely critical to your overall health and success, and any potential problems should be discussed with your physician.
- Check your feet every day. Diabetic nerve pain often results in more than just discomfort; loss of feeling means that you can hurt yourself and not even realize it. This greatly increases the likelihood of an infection or an ulcer, especially in the event that an unnoticed blister worsens.
- Circulation problems associated with diabetes is one of the leading factors when it comes to amputation. Taking care of yourself, including managing your glucose levels and taking medications as prescribed, is so incredibly important.
- Get regular check-ups. This includes a simple clinical examination to be properly inspected for any potential or developing issues with your extremities.
- Know your risk factors. If you're over age 75, your risk for an amputation due to diabetes greatly increases. Additionally, minority populations are almost three times as likely to be diabetic than non-Hispanic whites, resulting in a higher risk of amputation.
- Don't smoke! This drastically increases complications for practically every disease - especially when it comes to your circulation and vascular health.
- Make sure to follow your practitioner's orders to wear diabetic socks, well-fitting shoes, and/or to keep your feet in good physical condition, such as regularly maintaining your toenails.
Do you have further questions or concerns about complications from diabetes or its effects on an existing or potential amputation? Here at New Hope Prosthetics & Orthotics, we'll do our very best to assist our patients and help them experience a full and abundant life. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us!