How Diabetes Can Result In Amputation

Dr Handicap - prosthetic foot

Diabetes is a group of conditions that are related to the regulation of insulin. While it is a well-known condition and its symptoms and treatments are well-recognized, many people, including those who suffer from the condition, are not aware that poorly managed diabetes can result in amputation. Awareness needs to be raised so that patients know that they can end up permanently disabled as a result of diabetes, which will mean constant adjustments in their day-to-day lives.

Diabetes can be classified into three types: type one diabetes, type two diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Type one diabetes occurs when the pancreas is completely unable to produce insulin, so the patient must inject themselves daily so that their blood sugar can be maintained. Type two diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin so that blood sugar cannot be maintained as well. Gestational diabetes is a symptom of pregnancy and often resolves after the baby has been delivered. All three types of diabetes require careful monitoring of blood sugar to ensure that the patient stays healthy.

It’s easy to understand how this can affect things like weight, energy, and diet, but how can diabetes really result in amputation? It all comes down to your feet. We know that we need to treat our feet well as they carry us everywhere, but diabetics need to be particularly conscious of this. Foot problems, including the amputation of the toes or feet, are something that diabetic patients need to be conscious of.

Dr Handicap - diabetes

The first problem that diabetes can cause for the feet is called diabetic neuropathy. This can be caused by constantly high blood sugars. The first problem is nerve damage. Nerve damage means that if you have a small cut or bruise on your foot, it may get infected and you won’t feel it until it’s too late. The second problem, muscle damage, means that you may walk wrong, resulting in pressure sores that can get infected and also result in amputation due to lack of feeling from nerve damage.

The second problem is called peripheral vascular disease. One of the symptoms of diabetes is poor blood flow, which leads to peripheral vascular disease. This means that if you get a small injury on your foot or toe, poor blood flow will hamper the ability for the body to heal the cut. This can lead to infection and then amputation of toes or feet.

Foot problems are incredibly common for diabetic patients, so it’s very important to stay on top of your foot care routine. Make sure that you closely monitor your blood sugar, along with your diet. Carefully wash and dry your feet every day and visit your podiatrist regularly. Make sure that your podiatrist is well-versed in diabetic foot problems so that they know what to look out for. Diabetic patients are also disproportionately affected by minor foot complaints such as corns, calluses, and plantar warts, so it is very important to go for regular foot checks and to maintain a good relationship with your podiatrist.

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If you end up in a situation where amputation is your only option, there are measures that you can take. If you are only having toes removed, then the impact on you will be relatively minor. However, if you are having a full foot amputated, then there are certain changes that you will have to make to ensure your own comfort and quality of life. A prosthesis is not necessary, but you may feel that it helps you. Crutches or a wheelchair are also an option and it may be advisable to look at applying for a disabled parking space. This is a relatively easy process that varies from state to state, but people with mobility issues usually qualify. Even if you don’t drive, you’ll be able to use your disabled parking space if a friend or family member is driving you somewhere.

As with most chronic conditions, diabetes requires constant checks and vigilance to ensure that it does not get out of hand. The power is with the patient. Keep in touch with your doctors and your podiatrist to ensure that you’re doing everything right. Eat properly and take your insulin so that your body can cope with your condition and that you don’t end up in more pain that necessary. Make sure you stay on top of your blood checks and that you check your own feet for cuts and nicks in between visiting your podiatrist. It’s these little things that will ensure that you don’t have diabetic foot problems and end up having to go under the knife to lose a toe or even a whole foot.