Figures featured in an article from the Daily Mail Online have uncovered that more people than ever have parts of their legs amputated. This is because of complications related to diabetes.
Between 2015 and 2018, the NHS has carried out 27,465 lower limb amputations in England. Around 7,545 of them were above the ankle and 19,920 were below the ankle.
This figure shows a significant increase from 24,181 amputations between 2012 and 2015. Type 2 diabetes is the reason for the raising numbers. The rate per individual of above ankle amputations did not rise. The increase lies in minor removals.
The increase in overall figures is due to more diagnosis being made.
Since the mid-90s, the quantity of patients experiencing the illness has doubled. More people are now at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
In 1996, only about 1.4 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes. Out of those, 90% had type 2 diabetes.
In comparison, the current number is around 3.4 million in England and Wales.
In 2017, more than 200,000 people have been diagnosed.
Diabetes prompts abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood. This can result in nerve damage and decreased circulation, cutting off oxygen supply and conceivably damaging tissue.
Wounds heal at a slower rate, possibly escalating and ultimately can lead to an injury or infection. Those can develop further, with amputation being the only option.
Overconsumption of sugar, lack of exercise and being overweight has been said to be the main causes of diabetes.
By 2030, Diabetes UK predicts the number to surpass 5.5million.
The worst affected area is proven to be Northern, Eastern and Western Devon with 420 people undergoing the operation between 2015 and 2018, an increase by 348 from just 72 between 2012 and 2015.
It is closely followed by 404 operations in the Somerset area, along with Birmingham and Solihull at 395.
Often the survival and quality of life for people after such a major surgery is poor. It is especially jarring when we consider that disease is preventable and operation avoidable.
Type 2 diabetes remains one of the greatest health challenges in this country. The difference between losing a limb or not could be a check-up.
For some people, amputation is the only choice. For others, it is a mistake they have to live with, through no fault of their own.
A significant number of people end up having their limbs amputated due to medical negligence. Misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, subpar care can all contribute towards worsening of many conditions, resulting in need for amputation.
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