Headline News: Amputation Rate Much Lower in Adults Who Have Diabetes!

Better management credited for decline

Joy PapeBy Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

It’s about time! In the old days, people equated amputations with diabetes. When I ask people what they fear most about having diabetes, many tell me, “I don’t want to have my legs amputated.” I teach them that this complication of diabetes can be prevented. And I teach them how to do so.

A lot of people must be learning, and it’s paying off. A study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed there is a large decline in lower-limb amputations among adults who have diabetes. What great news! Between 1996 and 2008, there has been a 65% decrease in non-traumatic amputations among U.S. adults 40 and older. Non-traumatic injuries are those not caused by injury, but rather by circulation problems associated with diabetes.

Why the decline? The authors of the study noted this is related to improvements in managing blood sugar levels, foot care, overall diabetes management, and cardiovascular disease.

I agree. And I agree that just because things are improving, you don’t want to let up. Although it is a lot of work, don’t you think it’s worth it to save your legs? And, speaking of a lot of work, trust me, it’s more work if you don’t have your legs.

Here are some tips to help you keep your feet and legs for life:
1.    Understand that you can prevent amputations.
2.    Get and keep your blood sugar in your target range.
3.    Get and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in your target range.
4.    Have your feet examined and cared for (nails trimmed) by a podiatrist (a medical physician who specializes in the care of feet). Many times this is covered by your insurance. If you are able to see and reach your toes, clip your toenail straight across, and file the edges with an emery board.
5.    Look at your feet every day. Look at the tops, bottoms, and in between your toes. If you notice redness, swelling, blisters, any open areas, or something out of the ordinary, contact your health care professional right away. Do not wait!
6.    Keep your feet clean and soft. Clean your feet with warm, not hot or cold water, and a mild soap. Do not soak them. Dry them well, especially between your toes. Use moisturizers, creams, lotions, or good old olive oil on your clean feet everyday. Do not use these products between your toes. You want those areas to be dry.
7.    Always wear protective shoes. Never walk barefoot, even at home. Remember, most accidents happen at home. Also wear stockings or socks to decrease the friction from your shoes.
8.    Keep learning. Continue to watch and read information about diabetes at dLife.com


Read Joy’s bio here. 

Read more of Joy Pape's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

Last Modified Date: November 28, 2012

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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