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According to a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, about 220,000 people in the United States get a diabetes-related amputation every year. And of those amputations, about 85% are linked to a diabetic foot ulcer.
At Peachstate Advanced Cardiac & Endovascular in Newnan, Georgia, board-certified interventional cardiologist and endovascular expert Oghenerukevwe Odiete, MD, FACC, is on a mission to reduce these numbers by helping his patients manage diabetes and reduce their risk of body-wide complications.
Diabetes is a serious and complex condition that can impact your heart and circulatory systems. Here’s what you need to know about amputation prevention.
When you think about diabetes, you might imagine blood sugar readings or insulin injections. That’s because diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels. However, high blood sugar levels don’t just cause increased thirst, increased hunger, blurry vision, or tingly hands, although those are symptoms of diabetes. The reality is that complications of diabetes can affect almost every system in your body, from your heart to your vision to your kidneys.
Having diabetes also increases your risk of needing an amputation, and this is why:
Diabetes can cause nerve damage, including pain and numbness. If your foot is numb, you may injure it without even realizing it. Diabetes can also make wounds slow to heal, which can increase the risk of gangrene and the possibility of amputation.
Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing PAD, and the longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk. PAD — which is characterized by blocked arteries in your limbs — can contribute to poor circulation in your legs.
Furthermore, according to research published in Seminars in Interventional Radiology, venous diseases, such as PAD, contribute to the majority of cases of lower-limb ulcers. With these ulcers, skin tissue breaks down, exposing the layers underneath.
If you have diabetes, following the tips below can help you prevent the need for an amputation:
Managing your diabetes is critical for your overall health and wellness. Keeping your blood sugar under control will help prevent complications.
Inspect your feet daily for signs of ulcers. If you see a wound, get care immediately. The sooner you get care, the less chance there will be for an infection.
If you have any disease related to diabetes, such as PAD, make sure to work with your doctor to keep them under control.
Make healthy lifestyle changes that will support your heart and vascular health. This includes following a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding sitting for prolonged periods of time, and avoiding smoking.
At Peachstate Advanced Cardiac & Endovascular, we want to help you avoid the need for an amputation, and one way we can do that is by supporting your cardiac and vascular health. Whether you’re just starting to spot the symptoms of PAD or you just have questions about Vascular Care, we can provide the guidance you need.
We’re just a call or click away. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Peachstate Advanced Cardiac & Endovascular today.
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