Every medical condition in the modern world has specific traits making each disease slightly different from the previous illness. Major medical conditions such as diabetes are known for their ravaging effects if left untreated. Diabetes has been known to cause blindness, hypertension, and in some more serious cases, medically induced amputation. In fact, “amputation is a major complication of diabetes. If you have diabetes, your doctor has likely recommended that you check your feet each day.” In reference to diabetes, keeping track of every crack and scratch on the foot is vital. For diabetic patients, pain is not always the strongest indicator of a progressive illness. For example, “in some cases, diabetes can lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD causes your blood vessels to narrow and reduces blood flow to your legs and feet.” This condition is generally what causes numbness in the limbs of a diabetic patient. This lack of feeling can grow to be more damaging if these symptoms are left unnoticed. Furthermore, diabetes “may also cause nerve damage, known as peripheral neuropathy. This could prevent you from feeling pain.” Diabetes is a well-known disease, and many of the issues associated with this condition are understood by medical professionals. For diabetic complications such as high blood pressure or hypertension, these symptoms and ailments can be prevented. Amputation risks are also avoidable when an individual properly takes care of their condition. Limb amputation is a serious measure in the world of medicine, so understanding the risks of diabetes is a necessary task.
What are the Risks of Amputation?
On a daily basis, diabetics are exposed to several harmful and disruptive issues. For individuals with progressed forms of diabetes, the risks of more serious complications are prevalent. Some diabetics can develop infections from sores or cuts, creating room for infections. Once this infection becomes too aggressive, the area of the infection must be removed or amputated. On that note, “extremity amputations equal loss of functional mobility, and decrease the quality of life, and life expectancy for a person with diabetes.” Loss of mobility is one issue of limb loss that creates several other issues. On another note, there are more individuals who have contracted diabetes and have avoided amputation than the unfortunate individuals who could not avoid this issue. To be specific, “people with diabetes can have 4 different kinds of amputations of the lower limbs, or legs. Per 1,000 people, 2.6 have an amputation of the toe, and 0.8 have an amputation of the foot. 1.6 will have a below the knee amputation, and 0.8 will have an above the knee amputation.” According to the statistical data represented above, “amputation doesn’t have to be part of your diabetes journey. If you do all you can to manage your blood sugar and care for your feet, you’ll reduce your risk of major complications.” Diabetes is not entirely about curing the condition, due to the fact that this is a chronic illness. To elaborate, diabetes treatment is about reducing risks and further complications. Thankfully, modern medicine has developed methods to further reduce the fatal and unfortunate risks of diabetes.
How can these Risks be Reduced?
Diabetes is a progressive disease, so as soon as the condition is diagnosed, treatment should begin. Diabetes is also a chronic illness, making it extremely difficult to get rid of. First and foremost, a diabetic must understand the importance of diet and exercise, as well as a functional treatment regimen. For example, “take your diabetes medications and talk to your doctor about the best diet and exercise plan for your situation.” Secondly, an individual with diabetes must keep track of the markings and any discoloration of the body. Furthermore, “if you’re not regularly checking your feet, start now. It only takes a few minutes each day. Make checking your feet part of your morning or evening routine.” For some diabetics, checking their feet on a daily basis has become a habit or routine. Since diabetes requires much patience and attention, making decent health changes to one’s daily habits will normally be beneficial. The feet of an individual are in constant use, so they can be easily damaged. A diabetic patient should “report any foot problems and neuropathy symptoms such as numbness, burning, and tingling to your doctor right away.” Each of these symptoms are signs of nerve damage. After some time, if left untreated, these symptoms will no longer be felt by the individual with diabetes. At this point, any cut, bruise, contusion or scrape can lead to a serious infection.
Life after Amputation and what to look for in the Future.
After an amputation, an individual might not feel as whole as they previously felt before they had a limb removed. However, a lesson can be learned from a loss of this magnitude and one can be reminded that they have other limbs to take care of. For instance, “a person with diabetes would also benefit from therapeutic shoes if they have excess callouses on their feet. Thick callouses can break down and turn into non-healing foot ulcers. These, unpleasantly, can lead to amputation.” For some, the thought of losing a limb can cause some apprehension, and as a result an individual may ignore their issue. However, in recent years, individuals have more access to information surrounding the effects of diabetes. As a result of this spread of information, “amputations among people with diabetes went down over the past decade. It’s possible that better diabetes education is available, and a bigger emphasis is placed on the importance of foot and skin care. At any rate, it’s good as a CDE to see the numbers going down, and continued efforts should be done to prevent as many amputations as possible.” Diabetes can be avoided as a whole if an individual maintains a healthy lifestyle and utilizes the benefits of diet and exercise. For others, avoiding the issues of diabetes may be more difficult than anticipated, but staying healthy is not a simple task.
When speaking of diabetes, it is well known that everything a diabetic consumes will effect them in some form or fashion. However, not every individual understands exactly how and in what way the foods they eat will influence their body. For severe cases of diabetes, eating the wrong foods for a long period of time can cause them to lose a limb. For amputation concerning diabetes, “reduced blood flow can slow wound healing. It can also make your body less effective at fighting infection. As a result, your wound may not heal.” When a wound is unable to heal, the immune system is at a serious disadvantage. Once an infection sets in, there is almost no stopping the spread of the issue unless the source of the infection is eliminated. With that being said, “if the infection cannot be stopped, or the damage is irreparable, amputation may be necessary. The most common amputations in people with diabetes are the toes, feet, and lower legs.” The feet and legs are a human beings most fundamental forms of mobility. Some patients feel as if they are unable to recover from their loss, and this sense of defeat stems from their mental strength. When speaking of quality health, “with ongoing diabetes management, foot care, and wound care, many people with diabetes can limit their risk of amputation or prevent it entirely.” Diabetes management is not always simple, yet it is vital nonetheless. Amputation is only an option for diabetics when their condition is pushed to that point. Overall, amputation can be avoided, and an individual’s health can be improved simply by keeping track of their everyday activities. Diabetes is a progressive disease, making longevity an inevitability. Daily, it is the small steps that a person takes that yield the most results.