Amputation isn’t a topic most people want to discuss. Yet, for individuals managing diabetes, it must be proactively addressed. Between 60 and 70 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes will develop peripheral neuropathy, a debilitating condition caused by nerve damage and poor circulation. Loss of sensation associated with the disease can lead to injuries and foot ulcers, with more than 800,000 new ulcer diagnoses yearly. Of those who suffer from foot ulcers, approximately 86,000 patients require foot amputations each year.
But the progression outlined above doesn’t represent an inevitability. And your patients with diabetes don’t have to become statistics. We’re here to tell you there is hope, and you can provide it to your patients. After all, it is possible to avoid amputation with the right education and care.
Keep reading for everything your patients need to know about neuropathy and amputation.
Neuropathy and Amputation
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage sustained in your hands and feet. The damage stems from high blood glucose levels experienced by diabetic patients. Patients diagnosed with this condition also have an increased likelihood of diabetic amputation. Consider this. Fifty percent of all amputations are related to diabetes.
Why is neuropathy often a precursor to amputation? Because the loss of feeling associated with the condition makes people more likely to sustain and neglect injuries in their extremities. Many individuals don’t sense the warning signs of discomfort, infection, and ulcers until it’s too late. Moreover, poor circulation into the lower extremities means wounds take longer to heal, raising the potential for infection.
Why Amputation Occurs
Amputation may be the only remaining remedy when infections don’t heal properly or become infected. Fifteen percent of diabetics will suffer from a foot ulcer, and nearly a quarter of those patients need amputation. While surgeons work diligently to save as much healthy tissue as possible through toe amputations and limited removal of portions of the foot, these operations still have debilitating consequences. Especially when it comes to driving and independent living.
When infections spread too far, amputation of the entire foot or leg may prove necessary. These medical interventions can take up to eight weeks to recover from and prove life-altering. From home adaptations to assistive devices and prostheses, amputation impacts every aspect of life. And it proves very costly, too.
How to Prevent Amputation
As a pharmacist or clinician, you represent a trusted medical authority. You also occupy the frontline in educating patients and their caretakers about diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Fortunately, there are steps patients and their caregivers can take to decrease the odds of amputation for diabetics. They include:
Daily foot exams and good foot care ensure patients’ feet remain free from infections, ulcers, and injuries. Suggest using a mirror to help patients see their feet from every angle. Quitting bad habits like smoking is also essential. In particular, smoking constricts blood flow and circulation, exacerbating neuropathy.
Patients also need to monitor and manage their blood sugar levels in the healthy range, eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits, and get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. They should also know about our revolutionary NeuropaCalm Care Plan, which cuts to the heart of managing neuropathy symptoms.
Managing Peripheral Neuropathy With NeuropaCalm
Until recently, few options existed regarding treatment for neuropathy in legs and feet. But we’re happy to report this has changed. The NeuropaCalm Care Program is a cutting-edge method for addressing the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and amputation before such procedures become inevitable.
Our Care Program combines the latest technology and nutritional resources to improve patient outcomes. Within just a few weeks of starting NeuropaCalm, patients report improved sensation, decreased pain, and increased functionality. We want to partner with your pharmacy to offer the NeuropaCalm Care Program, the most effective value-based peripheral neuropathy care program on the market, to your patients and their caregivers.
A fully integrated system, our Care Program includes everything your patients need to manage the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy at home. Best of all, the Care Program is convenient, affordable, and highly effective. Schedule a call to find out how to bring NeuropaCalm to your pharmacy or clinic.