How can diabetes lead to amputation?

By Zoe Diss

Amputee with legs crossed

Diabetes can lead to a number of complications, including amputation, which can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

Diabetes is a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or use insulin properly. Insulin is an essential hormone which enables your body’s cells to create energy from glucose.

Diabetes UK reports that patients in England undergo more than 7,000 diabetes-related amputations per year, an average of 135 per week, with up to 80% of the cases being avoidable with proper foot care. An NHS Resolution report also cites almost 8,000 diabetic lower limb amputations between 2017-2020.

How does diabetes lead to amputation?

Diabetes can lead to amputation in a few ways. One way is by causing nerve damage. This can reduce feeling in the feet, making it difficult to notice cuts or sores. If a cut or sore is not treated promptly, it can become infected and lead to gangrene. Gangrene is a condition in which the tissues in the body die due to lack of blood flow.

Another way in which diabetes can lead to amputation is by causing poor blood circulation in the feet. This poor blood circulation can make it difficult for the body to heal wounds. If a wound does not heal, it can become infected and lead to gangrene.

Finally, diabetes can also lead to amputation by increasing the risk of blood clots. Blood clots can block the blood supply to the feet entirely, leading to tissue death and gangrene.

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Who is at risk of amputation from diabetes?

Older people with diabetes are at increased risk of amputation, especially if they have other health conditions, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Smoking
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage

How to prevent amputation from diabetes

There are a number of things that people with diabetes can do to prevent amputation, including:

  • Managing their blood sugar levels
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting regular foot check-ups

If you have diabetes, it is important to see your doctor or other healthcare provider regularly for foot check-ups. During a foot check-up, your healthcare provider will examine your feet for cuts, sores, and other problems. They will also check your circulation and nerve function in your feet.

Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors represented Mr Shaw after doctors ignored a blood test which led to necrotising fasciitis and sepsis.

Mr Shaw

Amputation from diabetes compensation claims

Previously, we highlighted research emphasising the importance of prompt and accurate diagnosis of diabetes in order to reduce the risk of amputation becoming necessary.

In the event that the medical professionals responsible for your care or that of a loved one fail to make a timely diagnosis, or fail to sufficiently monitor the risks posed by diabetes, you may be able to make an amputation claim.

Speak to a Blackwater Law clinical negligence solicitor today for free initial advice and support, and no obligation to proceed if you feel it’s not the right option for you.

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