Rising Diabetic Amputations Bring up Questions About Vascular Care

There is a scourge of obesity in the US right now, and it’s spreading all over the world. A typical outgrowth of this trend is a rise in diabetes, which can slowly destroy a person’s body, often proving fatal. Unfortunately, one of the severe results of type II diabetes that does get the right treatment of better vascular care is amputation, which is also currently on the rise.

Controlling diabetes

Some people have a challenge from the outset. Obesity can definitely be hereditary, and someone can have the unfortunate genes that bring it about. However, anyone can develop diabetes with poor lifestyle decisions, and no one is doomed if they make the right lifestyle decisions.

The main way to avoid obesity and the possibility of diabetes is to eat and healthy diet, low in sugar and high in vegetables and whole grains. Exercise is an important addition, and has the added benefit of keeping people heart-healthy. However, an overlooked aspect of a quality lifestyle is access to quality healthcare. People in poor areas and low socio-economic classes are at a greater risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes than their wealthier counterparts.

One in 12 people in the US has diabetes. The percentage is higher in people who did not finish high school and whose income is less than $15,000 a year.

Part of controlling the risk involves education, awareness, and support, things that the people at risk do not receive enough of. Even at the stage of diabetes, patients can still get their lives under control. If the disease is resulting in increased amputation, that means that their vascular care is suffering. “It’s a sentinel indicator for us of how things are going in diabetes care. If amputation rates are going up, it raises red flags for us,” says Dr. Edrward Gregg, Chief of the Branch of Epidemiology and Statistics at the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. According to a study that Dr. Gregg published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there has also been an increase in hospital admissions for stroke, heart attack and hyperglycemia in patients under the age of 65.

Getting good primary and vascular care

When the primary care isn’t sufficient, the patient usually won’t be seen for vascular care until it’s too late. The early warning signs are often subtle, and by the time the patient has a large wound on his foot or gangrene in his toe, it may be impossible to avoid an eventual amputation. Vascular surgeons will try a multitude of tactics to delay or prevent it, but are often unsuccessful.

Diabetes causes problems with blood flow, which is where the vascular problems begin, and it also causes nerve damage, which makes it more difficult for the patient to detect problems in his feet, which is why he may not address the problem early enough.

Financial problems may also be contributing to the increase in amputations. The escalation seemed to start after the recession in 2008, and also may be linked to high deductibles for young workers, which may be preventing them from seeking care. These are combined with a shortage of endocrinologists and expensive medications to help control insulin levels.

Vascular surgeons and podiatrists who work in poorer neighborhoods are aiming to promote better overall care and vascular care earlier. The most at-risk patients get their feet checked often and get wound care and artery-unclogging procedures as necessary.

At Hudson View Rehabilitation Center in Bergen County, New Jersey, we strive to provide optimal treatment for our vascular care patients, with high level clinicians and warm, caring staff.

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