Diabetes and Amputations: What you need to know NOW!

Diabetes complications are the real deal! Many of our patients have recently been diagnosed with Diabetes or have Diabetes but aren’t managing their blood sugars due to many factors: laziness, fear of what will happen next, thinking they will not be affected, or just sheer negligence. We are well aware that Diabetes complications can include kidney problems, nerve damage, and poor blood circulation. These problems make the feet vulnerable to ulcerations (wounds on the feet) that can quickly become infected and lead to devastating amputations. 

Proper Diabetes management starts with YOU! YOU have to make the decision to check your blood sugars. YOU have to follow up with her Primary Care Doctor routinely. YOU have to check your feet every day. YOU have to wear proper shoes and use proper diabetic creams. We are here to help, but at the end of the day, the ball stops with YOU! Take control of your feet and your body and you will see many benefits of putting yourself first including a boost in your mood, increase in self-confidence, and weight loss. 

Here are some facts that you need to know. It may seem scary, but it’s the truth.

  • The lifetime risk of developing a foot ulcer for someone with diabetes is 25%.
  • Of diabetic foot ulcers that do not heal, 25% will require amputation.
  • In the United States, the cost to care for diabetic foot ulcers is about $11 billion per year.
  • Arterial Disease and Neuropathy (numbness) are involved in approximately 45% of diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Osteomyelitis, which is an infection in the bone, is seen in 15% of people with diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Persons with Diabetes and amputation have a 55% chance of having another amputation within 2-3 years.

Yes, I know that’s a lot to swallow. We have to accept that facts are facts. That doesn’t mean we can’t make changes TODAY that will prevent this from happening! I suggest finding a quality Dietician or Nutritionist that you trust and have good repoire with to help set up a diet that will manage your blood sugars throughout the day. I have worked with Mrs. Gilda Kohan, otherwise known as Nutrition by Gilda on Instagram (NutritionbyGilda). A nutritionist will teach you the difference between a low-glycemic food, which will slowly release glucose into your bloodstream, versus a high-glycemic index food, which does the opposite. 

I think the key to preventing amputations is gaining knowledge about Diabetic care and wound prevention. Here are some simple tips you can begin implementing today!

  1. Check your feet every, single, day. If you can’t bend down, purchase a mirror such as this one. Check for red sports, excessive warmth, thick calluses, blisters, skin discoloration. Here’s a link for a quality mirror at an affordable price!  Mirror for Inspection
  2. Don’t Trim your own toenails. Leave this to the Foot Specialists! We use special devices and sharp blades to carefully trim your calluses and nails down without causing bleeding. Sometimes if you cut your nails too short, it will create an open cut, crack, or sore — which can harbor bacteria and cause infection. 
  3. Don’t forget to Wash your Feet! Don’t ignore your feet! Wash with lukewarm water to prevent burns/blisters from scorching hot water! You can use a gentle pumice stone to remove calluses or cracks. Properly hydrate your feet after drying your feet well. I have a specialized cream with Urea which will help impart moisture and prevent cracking in your skin. Another cream I like is Eucerin, which is safe for Diabetics. Never use crema on open sores or ulcerations as this can cause an adverse reaction. 

Take control of your diabetes! There are many programs across the Country hosted by The American Diabetes Association which can help you get started! I hope you find this information helpful. For more information, SUBSCRIBE to my Podcast on Itunes: The Doctor Benji Podcast