Diabetes is a Risk for Amputations

People with diabetes are far more likely to undergo foot or leg amputations because many have circulation and nerve problems, which lead to ulcers and infections that may ultimately result in amputation.

Diabetes is known to cause nerve dysfunction that can result in numbness in the feet called neuropathy. When the feet are numb a callus can develop, one can step on an object unknowingly, or an area of inflammation can develop. The injured area becomes inflamed and eventually breaks open into a wound, known as an ulcer. The ulcer can become infected.

Diabetics are predisposed to infection because diabetes suppresses the immune response. When there is an open ulcer, the bacteria gain access and the infection can spread rapidly possible resulting in a limb threatening infection. Nearly 1 in 5 infections require some sort of amputation.

Diabetes Statistics

In the United States, nearly 24 million people – or 8% of the U.S. population – have diabetes.

In 2010, diabetes affected 25.8 million Americans four times the number of American diagnosed with diabetes in 1980.

The increase in adult and childhood obesity over the last 20 years lies at the heart of the diabetes epidemic. Being obese or overweight substantially raises a person’s risk of diabetes.

It is estimated that 33% of Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

Almost 2 million people will be diagnosed with diabetes this year.

In 2010, nearly 70,000 Americans died due to diabetes, making it the seventh highest cause of death in the United States.

Having diabetes is associated with a 55% increase in mortality in people who have a lower limb amputation.

Diabetes and Amputations Statistics

Foot complications of diabetes are the most common cause of lower extremity amputations.

25% of diabetics will develop a foot ulcer. 50% of those with a foot ulcer will get infected and 15% of these patients will require amputation.

In those with diabetes, after amputation of one limb, there is a 50% risk of a second amputation in 2 years and the risk of death is 50 – 70% in 5 years.

An estimated 90,000 diabetes related amputations are performed in the United States.

Diabetes is the leading cause of limb loss in the United States.