Why is the Risk for Amputation Greater for People with Diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you are at a much higher risk for foot or leg amputation. This is due to the increased chance of developing non-healing wounds or foot ulcers. In fact, 85% of diabetes-related amputations are caused by foot ulcerations, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.

  • Peripheral Artery Disease

Foot ulcers from diabetes are caused by a few different conditions. The first is the close relationship between diabetes and peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD causes a build-up of plaque in the artery wall and can lead to a blockage of the lower extremity, according to Society for Vascular Surgery. This narrowing of the may cause ulcers or open wounds and infections that may lead to amputation, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.

  • Hyperglycemia

Long-term hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels, is also particularly damaging to blood vessels, potentially causing decreased circulation. This can make it harder for the body to heal wounds, especially at the extremities like the feet and legs, according to Diabetes Daily.

  • Neuropathy

Diabetes can also cause extensive nerve damage, or neuropathy. Neuropathy can worsen a patient’s ability to feel or recognize a small cut on their foot. If the wound is left untreated it can cause infection, if the patient is diabetic, a simple cut into an amputation.

If you have diabetes, there are ways to help reduce your risk of amputation. Check out these tips below from Diabetes Daily.

  • Check your blood and glucose level regularly. This is the number one tactic you can do to reduce your risk of amputation.
  • Be proactive about your wounds. Do not wait to seek medical attention if you see a wound on your extremities.
  • Check your feet and legs every day. Before getting into bed do a quick check for cuts or wounds. If you are a patient with neuropathy you may not feel a wound happen, so it is important to check before it becomes too late. Grab a hand mirror to make sure you can examine your entire foot.

If you have a non-healing wound and have been told amputation is your only option, you can contact FCCI’s Amputation Prevention Center today at 904.493.3333