Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes and according to the American Diabetes Association in 2004 about 71,000 lower limb amputations were done on diabetics. Within 5 years, nearly half of these people will die.
In 2008, the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical, published “Mortality Rates and Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Is it Time to Communicate Mortality Risk to Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulceration?” which compared the mortality rates for a diabetes verses other diseases.
The likelihood of a diabetic being dead five years after a amputation is nearly 50%. This is more than double the chance of death from prostate or breast cancer.
Clearly, diabetics who develop foot infections need to understand the consequence of amputation is not just the loss of a toe or foot, but there is a fifty-fifty chance they will be dead in 5 years.
Loss of a foot puts more strain on the person’s heart to walk and more stress and strain on the other foot, possibly leading to sores and infection in this remaining foot.
This gives even more reason for diabetics to take care of their feet. The simple corn on the toe of the above diabetic patient can become limb-threatenting if not properly treated.
Diabetics need to check their feet everyday, watch for sores and lesions, and see a podiatrist promptly.