People with diabetes sometimes have to have limbs, toes, feet or other extremities amputated due to infections caused by the disease. Although the practice used to be quite common, a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in the journal Diabetes Care, finds this number is significantly down.
According to the comprehensive study, the rate of limb amputations among diabetes patients has dropped by nearly half since the mid-90s. Older diabetic amputations have dropped from more than 11 out of 1,000 diabetes patients to an average of about four people out of 1,000.
The American Diabetes Association reports that there are currently 25.8 million people in the U.S. with diabetes, and an estimated 1.9 million new cases of the disease were diagnosed in 2010.
According to Fox News, complications associated with diabetes that commonly lead to an amputation include poor circulation and nerve damage in lower limbs. This can result in numbness and slow healing of sores, leading to infections that spread too quickly to stop.
The study found that an increase in preventative care such as diabetics going in for foot exams may play a role in the huge drop in amputations.
Living with diabetes can be challenging for anyone, but may be even more so for elders living alone. Change in blood sugar levels can result in dizziness or falls, and seniors living alone may have an episode with no one around. To ensure seniors are able to call for help in case of an emergency, loved ones might want to install a medical alert system in their homes as elders can wear the devices at all times.