Diabetes & Amputation

Having to resort to amputation may seem like a drastic measure but unfortunately, there are some people who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes that actually has to undergo a form of amputation.

Of course, this is going to be an unwelcome development associated with the condition but it is usually a last resort and thankfully, doesn’t have to occur too often. However, there have been recent reports in the press which suggest that amputations (as a result of type 2 diabetes) indicate a pattern of growth.  

There are ways in which the risk of such action can be reduced, if not eradicated and by following some of the advice contained within this content, it should give you a better idea of what to expect, how to look after yourself and establishing exactly when to seek help.

Why might an amputation be needed?

At this point, you may be wondering why a diabetes sufferer might need to have part of his / her body amputated.

If the situation arises, it is more common for the lower limbs to be amputated, especially the foot, but other parts could include individual toes and in really severe cases, an entire leg could be removed. Sadly, there are times where this could be prevented and by simply looking after your feet, it will reduce the likelihood of further action being needed.

The reasons for an amputation could include any of the following: InfectionsThe foot/feet became deformed Certain vascular diseases Circulation problems Nerve damage (this is also referred to as diabetic neuropathy) Ulcers

At first glance, none of these might be too serious but it is vital to seek medical assistance as soon as possible should you develop any of the above because they can seen become problematic.

For example, what might have started out as a simple scratch or ulcer can result in infection and there have been numerous cases where this has resulted in gangrene which will ultimately end in amputation.

How can such action be prevented?

The ultimate way that this can be done is by ensuring part of a diabetes related health check involves a thorough foot inspection so that any possible issues can be detected early in order that any relevant treatment is immediately implemented.  

Aside from regular checks of your feet, there are other ways of taking action (even if they may appear to be indirectly involved with a possible problem). These could include:

  • Ensure that you have your blood sugar levels checked on a regular basis and keep them at an appropriate level
  • Participate in regular exercise – 30 minutes per day (minimum) is recommended and ideal
  • A good diet is essential

Top tip: When it comes to caring for your feet and other parts of your body, it has been suggested that you should seek medical advice before using any items like electric blankets and heating pads.

Some medical experts have suggested that as many as 50% of amputations carried out could have easily been prevented and wouldn’t have been necessary if the relevant care and assistance had been sought as soon as there was evidence of a possible problem.

How to safeguard your feet against potential problems

Anyone who suffers from diabetes should have at least a basic understanding of how to care for the feet properly, as well as being able to establish the signs of a possible problem.

There are a couple of foot routines that you may want to follow on a regular basis which consist of the following:

  • When checking your feet, it may be best to treat anything that you find as a possible problem. Be on the look out for things like bruises, ulcers, cuts or any other type of mark as these could be a potential risk. Ask yourself, do I have any numbness in the limbs? Because if so, this could be an issue involving circulation. It doesn’t matter how big or small a problem might seem, always seek relevant medical advice as soon as possible.
  • There are some people who may prefer to have a professional check his / her feet for any potential issues and the benefits of doing this means that any risks can be detected quickly, thus reducing the risk of having to resort to amputation at a later time.

If there is anything you might be unsure about or if you have any questions then do not hesitate to see your doctor because they will be able to answer your queries, provide guidance and administer any treatment that might be required. It is most likely that what could have a been a problem turns out to be something very simple but it is better to be safe than sorry by getting it checked anyway

Tip: For anyone who suffers from diabetes, even though the feet and other lower limbs have the biggest risk of problems, should other parts of your body start to have issues (even if it is something simple like a graze or scratch) then it is equally important to have them checked out, just in case.  

Overall, this may seem like a lot of points and general information to remember but when it comes to your health and wellbeing, it is very important that you have great understanding of how to look for possible warning signs, how to care for your feet and body as a whole, and how to reduce the risk of diabetes related complications, both now and in the future.

No-one wants to have parts of the body amputated and that is why it is important not to underestimate the effect that diabetes can have on a person. By remembering some of the simple techniques mentioned here then you will almost certainly avoid becoming another statistic, by joining part of a growing trend where amputations are slowly starting to become more commonplace, even though they could have been prevented from the very beginning.

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