Amputations Aren't Automatic For High-Risk Diabetics

Although diabetics have a 15 times greater risk of having a lower limb amputated than those without it, an interesting survey from the UK found some high-risk patients could've avoided the procedure altogether. Based on data from a British diabetes organization, there's good reasons for doing so: As many as 70 percent of diabetes patients who lose a limb die within five years.

Researchers surveyed 30 diabetics (ages 60-80), 90 percent of whom were considered high-risk patients. A review by the numbers demonstrates negligence and ignorance may have had more to do with some of those amputations than dire need.

  • More than a third of patients didn't talk to their doctors about managing their health so they could avoid an amputation.
  • Forty percent weren't educated as to how to prevent and treat infections.
  • More than a fourth weren't offered any kind of limb-saving special care.

The saddest number of them all: At least 40 percent of the amputations performed in the UK could've been avoided. And, as you know, diabetes is very treatable at any stage, if you're willing to make some important lifestyle changes:

BBC News March 29, 2006

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