Diabetes and Amputation: What You Need To Know
Diabetes is associated with numerous health complications such as heart disease, eye conditions, and neuropathy. According to Diabetes Management, diabetic neuropathy is a leading cause of amputations in the U.S.
Diabetic neuropathy can affect any number of bodily functions. Nerve damage most commonly occurs in people who struggle to control their blood sugar, people with high blood pressure, overweight people, and people over the age of 40.
The most common area affected is the feet because the combination of poor circulation and nerve damage leaves the feet susceptible to ulcers that can cause significant damage to the surrounding tissues and bones. These nonhealing ulcers may require amputation of the affected area.
Reduce Your Risk
There are certain preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing a severe foot ulcer that may need amputation:
- Don’t smoke
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Wash and inspect your feet daily
- Wear shoes that fit with clean, dry socks
- Eat well and exercise regularly
Amputation and Recovery
Sometimes amputation is the only option for treating a severe foot ulcer. Surgeons will remove the damaged tissue while preserving the healthy surrounding tissue as much as possible.
The wound may take as long as eight weeks to heal, and many patients choose to engage in some sort of physical or occupational therapist as well as a mental health provider to begin to accept the life changes that accompany amputation.
Source: The Mayo Clinic, Diabetes Management