RadioMD: Staying Well

Can Diabetes Lead to a Limb Amputation?

May 5, 20149 min
If you have diabetes, your risk of developing a non-healing wound after you've cut yourself is high, which may lead you to have an amputation.Diabetes is a growing problem in the US. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults have diabetes in the US.Of the almost 26 million Americans who have diabetes, 15% will develop a slow-healing wound, or chronic foot ulcer. People who suffer from these wounds aren't likely to have feeling in the affected area and the ulcers often go unnoticed.Once diagnosed, these wounds can be very hard to treat and at times require removal of the afflicted limb, which is why an estimated 60,000 diabetics undergo amputations annually.What causes these non-healing wounds?Non-healing wounds occur from the breakdown of your skin and can happen for a number of reasons. This could be from poor circulation, nerve damage, your blood sugar levels are not under control and when a wound does appear, not taking care of the wound in a proper way.It is crucial that you make sure that your blood sugar levels are in National Standardized rates, check that your glycemic index is in control and that you're checking your feet daily for wounds.If a wound is discovered, make sure the area is cleaned so you don't run the risk of developing an infection. You don't want to hesitate on contacting your physician.What if your wound is not treatable, what is your next step?Dr. Michael Kerzner joins Melanie Cole, MS to discuss the affects diabetes has on your health, how to prevent and treat non-healing wounds and what your options are if your wounds are not treatable.

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