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Amputations and Diabetes: Understanding the Connection and Preventative Measures

April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, and for people living with diabetes, complications that can arise from this condition may lead to amputations. Dr. Hubert Lee and the team at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists want to help you understand how diabetes and its related conditions can result in foot or leg amputations and share preventative measures.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and diabetic neuropathy are chief culprits behind amputations. PAD restricts blood flow to the extremities, impairing wound healing and increasing the risk of infections.

Diabetic neuropathy, on the other hand, damages nerves, leading to reduced sensation and impairing the body's ability to detect injuries or infections. When left unmanaged, these conditions may lead to the need for amputation.

Understanding the Path to Amputation

The journey from diabetes diagnosis to amputation may include many challenges exacerbated by factors that include:

  1. Poor glycemic control
  2. Smoking
  3. High blood pressure
  4. High cholesterol levels.

These factors contribute to the development and progression of PAD and neuropathy, creating a situation conducive to severe foot ulcers and subsequent amputations.

Preventive Measures

While the prospect of amputation is a real factor for individuals with diabetes, it is not an inevitable outcome. Here are some key preventive measures:

  1. Regular Foot Care: Individuals with diabetes should inspect their feet daily for any cuts, blisters, or sores. Prompt treatment of minor injuries can prevent them from escalating into major complications.
  2. Glycemic Control: Maintaining blood sugar levels within the target range is crucial for preventing nerve damage and promoting wound healing.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Smoking cessation, regular exercise, and a balanced diet not only improve overall health but also mitigate the risk factors contributing to amputation.
  4. Routine Medical Check-ups: Regular visits to healthcare professionals for comprehensive foot examinations and screenings can help detect issues early and prevent progression to advanced complications.
  5. Footwear and Orthotic Devices: Wearing properly fitted shoes and using orthotic devices can alleviate pressure points, reducing the risk of foot ulcers and injuries.

If you have diabetes and want support for all of the foot-related complications associated with the condition, Dr. Hubert Lee and the team at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists are here to help guide you. You can schedule an appointment online or call today at 425-455-0936.

Author
Dr. Hubert Lee

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