It is suggested by the NHS that people with diabetes in the UK are 15 times more likely to undergo an amputation than those without the condition. This article will answer:
- What is diabetes?
- Who is at risk?
- How is diabetes in the UK treated??
- What are the best practices for minimising the chance of amputation?
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is an incurable yet treatable condition due to problems with the body’s ability to produce the hormone insulin. It causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels which, if untreated, can be fatal.
Blood sugar, or glucose, is used as energy for your body. In the simplest terms it is quick release fuel which comes from high sugar foods such as cakes and chocolate but can also be manufactured by digesting carbohydrates such as potatoes or rice.
Insulin is the hormone your body releases to regulate the absorption of glucose into your cells. It is produced in the pancreas and, if you are healthy, your insulin levels are regulated to make sure you’ve always got energy on tap. In a person with diabetes the imbalance of insulin levels leads to fuel not being absorbed into the parts of the body that really need it.
Issues can occur in different organs of the body including the brain and eyes and in some cases can lead to issues with the circulatory system. Vascular problems mean that blood cannot get to the extremities such as the feet requiring, in extreme cases, amputation of limbs.
Who is at risk to diabetes?
Type I diabetes is where the body attacks the pancreas rendering it unable to produce insulin. This can be brought on by complications from a virus and tends to happen before the age of 40.
Type II diabetes can be similar to type I in the fact that the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin but it can also be a resistance in the body’s cells to absorb the insulin meaning that the cells don’t have the trigger to take on the fuel. This is more common in people over 40, obese or through poor diet. Not everyone is equally at risk however as genetics play a role in susceptibility.
How is diabetes in the UK treated?
As it is an issue with the body’s manufacturing of insulin, insulin supplements are often used to activate the cells to absorb the glucose. Diabetes sufferers will inject themselves after a meal to boost their insulin levels to increase absorption of the glucose from the food just consumed.
What are the best practices for minimising the chance of amputation?
Many admissions to hospital of diabetics is due to issues with extremities of the body such as the feet and lower legs. Foot checkups are common when examining diabetes patients to ensure good circulation, health and mobility. There are also foot care routines which all diabetes patients should practice.
We are lucky that we have such great care in this country when it comes to conditions such as diabetes. In most cases the condition can be managed so that the diabetic can lead an almost normal life. In the rare event of an amputation the UK health service will work hard with the patient toward rehabilitation with a prosthetic. Sadly this is not the case the world over. Legs4Africa’s mission is to make it so people who have suffered amputations due to such conditions as diabetes have the same support as here in the UK. With your help we can get such people the support and prophetic legs that they need..
The information here does not constitute medical advice and is used for illustrious purposes only.
Of course, all advice regarding diagnosis and treatment of the issues on this page must be sort from a doctor or other qualified care professional.