With diabetes being the leading cause of limb loss in the United States, diabetes prevention and management are especially important to the Amputee Coalition. National Diabetes Month is every November and focuses on raising awareness of this public health issue while encouraging people to take charge of their health. The White House has also issued a proclamation recognizing the importance of this month for both people with diabetes and those at risk of the disease.
Diabetes is when a person’s blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. has prediabetes in which levels are higher than normal. However, it’s important to note that early treatment and moderate lifestyle changes can return blood sugar levels to a normal range which can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, there are many actions you can take to prevent limb loss or avoid secondary amputation. Along with managing your diabetes, the most effective preventative steps are checking your feet daily and wearing the right shoes. Currently, diabetes affects 37 million Americans according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and they have created a toolkit that can be used to educate others throughout the month.
Here are some helpful tips from the NIDDK about how you can prevent diabetes health problems:
- Manage your diabetes ABCs
- A is for A1C test
- B is for blood pressure
- C is for cholesterol
- Take small steps toward healthy habits – lifestyle habits include planning healthy meals, physical activity, getting enough sleep, not smoking
- Take your medicines on time – even if you feel healthy
- Reach or maintain a healthy weight – through healthy eating, physical activity, weight-loss treatments
- Take care of your mental health – learn how to prevent diabetes burnout from the American Diabetes Association
- Work with your health care team
Avoiding diabetes is a significant step in limb loss prevention, but if you have gone through a diabetic amputation commit yourself to managing your diabetes well. We encourage you to spread the word as we aim to prevent unnecessary amputations.