Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires continuous medical care and patient education, one of the objectives is preventing chronic complications, among which is the so-called “Foot at Risk” or “Diabetic Foot” is very frequent.
It’s estimated that approximately 15% of all people affected with diabetes will be affected by an ulcer in their life. Hospital discharge information from around the world indicates that, among people with diabetes, up to 20% of all hospitalizations are related to ulcers below the knee. Every 30 seconds someone loses a lower limb because of diabetes.
However, numbers from developing countries are insufficient. The information we have indicates that prevalence rates are higher, possibly due to the habit of walking barefoot and the fact that it’s harder to access appropriate foot care.
But the main problem with ulcers is amputation, it has been shown that 85% of all lower limb amputations in diabetic patients are preceded by ulcerations, which allow infectious agents to enter and produce progressive tissue necrosis with minimal closure of wounds in the presence of an ischemic medium. Therefore, the rate of amputation in diabetic patients is 15 times higher when compared to the rest of the population.
The impact of an amputation affects the diabetic patient’s quality of life. An amputation is a critical moment that triggers a series of debilitating and disastrous events. Studies have shown that up to 58% of patients will have another amputation in their contralateral lower limb within the following 3 to 5 years, so it has also been estimated that mortality within 2 years after the first amputation could have a rate of 20% to 50%.
It has also been shown that between 40% and 85% of all amputations can be prevented, which highlights the importance of identifying risk factors and employing preventive measures. The lives of those who undergo a lower limb amputation never goes back to normal. These people need several months to recover from these interventions, during which they need rehabilitation or being admitted to a medical institution.