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How can a patient with diabetes prevent an amputation? [Dr. Rundback]

Q: How can a patient with diabetes prevent an amputation?

A: If you have diabetes, you may also have neuropathy, which is the loss of feeling in your lower extremities. This means you won’t know exactly what’s going on with your feet and your toes. You may also have Peripheral Arterial Disease, which is a blockage affecting the arteries of your lower extremities. This is a dangerous combination because you’ll be prone to injuries or wounds that you may not feel, but that can rapidly progress and lead to ulceration, gangrene, and limb loss. Therefore, if you’re diabetic and if you have neuropathy, it’s extraordinarily important that you take several measures to avoid the risk of Peripheral Arterial Disease, ulceration, and amputation:

  1. Do daily foot checks. If you’re unable to do them yourself ask someone who can closely examine your feet on a daily basis and spot the appearance of early wounds or injury, or areas of abnormality or infection—before they develop into a bigger problem.
  2. Don’t cut your own toenails. Make sure you have a good podiatrist who you see on a regular basis to cut your toenails and inspect your feet.
  3. Take care of your diabetes in a rigorous way. This is the most important step you can take. With diabetes, we talk about the hemoglobin A1C as being an indicator of overall diabetic health, but it is also a marker of the risk of amputation in diabetics.
  4. Don’t wait. I can’t emphasize this enough. If you’re a diabetic and have a cut on your foot or your toe that doesn’t heal within one week, see a vascular specialist immediately. Or at the very least, see your podiatrist. Wounds need immediate attention, and can quickly worsen if they’re not treated appropriately.

More videos from the interview with Dr. Rundback of the West Orange, NJ Endovascular Center as he outlines how patients with diabetes can prevent Peripheral Arterial Disease, ulceration, and amputation.

Request a consultation at your nearest American Endovascular center today.