Facing a limb amputation can be scary and overwhelming. Many times, these amputations are the result of preventable health conditions, including vascular disease, and specifically diabetes. However, without proper medical management, we will continue to see hundreds of amputations performed each day in the United States.
If the thought of living without a leg isn’t bad enough, unfortunately the long-term outcomes for people who have an amputation are very poor. Over half of people with diabetes who have a lower extremity amputation will require amputation of the other leg within 2 to 3 years. Even more concerning, almost half of people with vascular disease who have an amputation will die within 5 years according to Amputee Coalition.
What You Can Do
It is important to know the signs of vascular disease, including leg pain, weak pulses in your legs or feet, or wounds that do not heal. Keep in mind that many health conditions can increase your risk of amputation, even if you don’t have severe physical symptoms.
Early intervention is essential for managing vascular disease, diabetes, and other health conditions that can lead to amputations. The goal of early treatment is to improve blood flow, heal any wounds or ulcers that are present on the extremities, and ultimately prevent amputation.
If you suspect you are at risk for vascular disease or an amputation, visiting with a vascular surgeon is key to understanding more of your treatment options. It is also important to focus on your health by improving your diet, getting more regular exercise/activity, stopping the use of all tobacco products, and reducing stress.
What a Doctor Can Do
Many of the board-certified vascular surgeons at our practice have specialized experience helping patients avoid amputations. They do this through a combination of approaches tailored to the needs of each patient:
- Diagnosis: Our specialists have advanced equipment they can use to gauge how well your arteries and veins are working.
- Non-surgical therapies: They can provide resources to help you manage your health and address the underlying medical condition.
- Wound care: Our doctors work with other specialists, including podiatrists, to promote healing and long-term vascular health.
- Surgery: In mild cases, minimally invasive surgical procedures can be performed to restore blood flow and improve circulation. In more advanced cases, surgical revascularization may need to be performed to increase blood flow.
You have the resources available to avoid amputation due to diabetes or vascular disease. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our vascular specialists, please call us at (512) 459-8753.