Amputation in diabetes patients— The cause and the prevention

Most people do not realize the true danger that diabetes poses. Ask people what the worst part of the disease is and most of them will say having to take the insulin shot. That is because they don’t know how bad the consequences of diabetes can be, and that it can lead to amputations yes well. It is very possible to lose a limb to diabetes. This becomes even more worrying when you realize that more than 371 million people all over the world suffer from diabetes. More than 1.5 million develop foot ulcers every year, out of which almost a hundred thousand end up needing amputations.  

This is also why treatment for diabetes is so important. If it is caught on time and treated properly, then there will be no need of any amputations. However, if the disease is allowed to spread unaffected then it can cause irreversible damage.

Why Diabetes Can Lead to Amputations

Diabetes can lead to another condition called PAD, short of Peripheral Artery Disease. In this disease your blood vessels start becoming narrow, which starts to cut down the blood flow to feet and in some cases hands as well. The reduced blood flow also means that the nerve endings in your feet don’t work properly anymore. This means that when a patient with PAD develops an ulcer or some other injury on their feet they do not feel it.

This untreated damage can slowly become infected, and the infection can spread through the limb to the whole body. If amputation isn’t done, there is a risk of the person dying because their whole bodies became infected. When you have the proper blood flow your body’s natural defenses allow you to fight the infection and heal the wound, but all those defenses are lowered in a person with diabetes. If you have started developing ulcers on your feet, or are having neuropathy related problems, you should get it checked out.

Prevention

You can stay diligent to prevent this from ever happening to you. The first step is to monitor your blood glucose levels. The testers are very cheap and convenient to use. You should use it if you have a history of diabetes in your family. If you think you have diabetes, you should go to a doctor and get yourself checked. If you have a foot ulcer and diabetes, then you definitely need to notify your doctor. They will see whether it will heal on its own or if its need any treatment.

You also need to assess your feet every few days. Remember, you will not be able to feel it if there is an ulcer on your foot if you start developing PAD. You should have someone else check the bottom of your feet, or place a mirror in front of you and do a thorough check of every part of your feet. Don’t just look for injuries or wounds – also try pressing your foot to ensure that you can feel things properly.

Linh Le