People with Diabetes are suffering severe complications leading to their legs and feet being amputated unnecessarily, according to a study conducted by the Association for the Study of Diabetes. This is especially true for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients who also have Diabetes. In fact, some figures suggest that 15% of patients receiving Dialysis had undergone amputations, compared with 6.4% who were not having Dialysis.
Diabetes complications include nerve damage and poor blood circulation. These problems make the feet vulnerable to skin sores (ulcers) that can worsen quickly and are difficult to treat. Foot ulcers can also affect how people walk and may lead to serious complications that require amputating limbs.
In 2008 alone, approximately 70,000 people had a limb amputation, according to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 60% of the amputations have been attributed to Diabetes; even when you include those resulting from accidents.
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32% of patients receiving dialysis had a history of foot ulcers. Dr. Agbor Ndip suggests that the common challenge of Neuropathy (nerve damage) only further hinders patient outcomes. Blocked sensations of pain due to nerve damage can cause unnoticed feet injuries and blisters which "then burst and form an ulcer and the ulcers then don't heel," Dr. Ndip said. Physical changes, like tissue oxygenation (concentration of oxygen in the blood),and fluid shifts in the body can intensify foot ulcers.
A non-healing ulcer that causes severe damage to tissues and bone may require surgical removal of a toe, foot or part of a leg. However, with proper CKD and Diabetes management as well as careful foot care, you can help prevent foot ulcers and drastically improve risks of amputation. When foot ulcers do develop, it's important to get prompt care.
Researchers point out that people on Dialysis were less likely to have regular foot care, compared with those not on Dialysis. This is likely because being successful on Dialysis is more important than any other disease management criteria for CKD patients. However, you do not have to choose. Be sure to monitor your overall health and not just one aspect.
Some easy ways to maintain your foot health include trimming your toenails carefully, wearing clean socks, inspecting and washing feet daily, and not walking outside barefoot. Remember to schedule regular foot check-ups and take foot injuries seriously. If you have a calluses or other foot lesions, do not remove them yourself, go to your doctor. Also add this to your list: Come to KidneyBuzz.com every day for Breaking News & Information. Run over to our community Facebook Page right now, and share how you maintain your foot health.
Most Popular Reading:
Peter Russell. "Diabetes Health Centre: Many Amputations among Dialysis Patients with Diabetes 'unnecessary'" Http://www.webmd.boots.com/. WebMD, LLC.
Meikle, James. "Diabetic People 'having Unnecessary Amputations'" The Guardian. Guardian News and Media.
"Diabetes-related Foot Amputations Decline in the US." Http://www.natureworldnews.com/. Nature World News RSS.
"Diseases and Conditions: Amputation and Diabetes: How to Protect Your Feet." Http://www.mayoclinic.org/. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.