Undergoing a leg amputation is a lot to overcome. Afterward, an amputee’s way of life completely changes. Yet, research suggests there is still an unsettling amount of unnecessary amputations, according to the American Heart Association, and not enough is being done to prevent it.

To help prevent unnecessary amputations, we must ask the question, what actually causes leg amputations? Below is a list of specific diseases or health concerns that most commonly lead to amputation. Being aware of these will help you reduce your risk.

  1. High Blood Sugar
    • Having high blood sugar levels can cause the nerves in your extremities to become damaged. These damaged nerves have a hard time relaying messages to the brain, which will cause neuropathy (Tag Neuropathy article), or numbness. With no feeling, you are less likely to notice any sores or wounds on your feet. If left untreated, these spots can become ulcers (tag) and can infect the bones in your feet and legs, causing amputation, according to the Amputee Coalition.
  2. Peripheral Artery Disease(PAD)/ Circulation Problems
    • PAD affects about 12 million people in the US, according to the National Institutes of Health, and it is a big risk factor for amputation. PAD occurs when your arteries become too clogged with plaque to produce the required amount of blood flow to your lower extremities. If PAD is not treated in time, it could cause amputation. PAD occurs mainly in people with diabetes. For more information about PAD click here:
  3. Infections coupled with bad immune system
    • For diabetics, often times the immune system does not function properly to fight off infections. If there is not enough white blood cells and sufficient blood supply to attack the infection, healthy tissue dies. Once this happens, a life threatening infection, called osteomyelitis, could spread to your bones or joints, making amputation necessary in some cases, according to the National Institutes of health.

Prevention is the key to successfully ending all unnecessary amputations. Some of the key points to prevention to remember are to:

  • Always check your feet for sores
  • Controls your numbers (blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol)
  • Exercise weekly (always ask your doctor before significantly changing your lifestyle)
  • Eat a healthy diet. For tips on how to begin a healthier diet click here: