Loss of limbs due to diabetes occurs at a much higher rate among racial and ethnic minority groups. In most cases, the amputation involves the foot or leg. Men, blacks and the elderly have the highest rates of amputation caused by diabetes.
Why amputation occurs
Diabetes damages the nerves in the feet. The danger is in the fact that people with diabetes have poor blood flow to the feet, and they can easily get ulcers and infections that can lead to amputation, Further, they don't feel pain, so they can have an injury and not even know it.
Does all diabetes lead to limb loss?
No. In fact, limb loss is preventable. Blood vessel disease causes about 82 percent of amputations, and half of all amputations occur among people who are living with diabetes. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awareness and preventative health measures can often prevent diabetes from leading to limb amputation.
Here are three things all diabetes patients can do:
- Don't go barefoot.
- Have your feet examined by a physician at least once a year.
- Check your feet daily for any sores, ulcers or redness.
African Americans with diabetes are twice as likely as whites to experience foot or leg amputation due to complications from diabetes.