Lifestyle choices affect risk for lower limb amputation

Original Article:

How do lifestyle choices affect diabetes?

It is established that our lifestyle choices impact our risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). What this means is that our food choices, how physically active we are, and whether or not we choose to smoke all significantly increase the risk of T2D and other serious medical conditions. A major concern for people with diabetes is the risk of developing damage to the circulation and nerve supply to a person’s foot and/or leg requiring amputation.

Risk factors for lower limb amputations

In a recent study from Sweden involving 66,569 adults diagnosed with diabetes, researchers looked at the risk factors for lower limb and foot problems that required a major amputation.  In the study, over the next 4 years, 133 amputations were performed. 

The researchers found that major risk factors for amputation associated with diabetes included smoking, exercising little, damage to the blood supply or nerves, and being divorced, Men were also at greater risk than women. Increasing age was also a factor. Participants using insulin also had a higher risk for lower limb amputations Surprisingly, obesity was associated with less risk. Less surprisingly, smoking was a major risk factor.

Putting the study results in practice

Because older adults have a higher risk for lower limb amputations, when newly diagnosed as an adult, they should receive extra attention  to prevent amputations. We know that encouraging smoking cessation and promoting physical activity are especially beneficial for anyone with diabetes.