According to Tropical Medicine Research Institute’s endocrinologist Dr. Michael Boyne, diabetic amputation is a marker for death. Dr. Boyne of the University of West Indies, during the inaugural of Jamaica Advanced Laparoscopic Seminar, put forward fear-provoking numbers as he mentioned how diabetes can destine a person to death within next five years.
Dr. Boyne said that the number of patients is increasing at an exponential rate and mentioned that 25% of people having a toe amputated do not survive the next 5 years. He also mentioned that the percentage increases from 25 to 50 when the amputated area was increased to “below knee”. The most frightening part of his statement was that only 20% of diabetics survive when they undergo an “above knee” amputation. In the words of the doctor himself, “you are marked for death.”
Elaborating on his statement, Dr. Boyne said that the diabetics are highly prone to Wet Gangrene or Cellulitis in which the infection can spread in a matter of days and the only way of stabilization is amputation. He also mentioned that a diabetic person “can lose the leg” because of poor blood circulation.
Dr. Boyne explained how the problem in one part of the system cannot be so specific after all. He stated that there may be problems culminating in internal organs like kidney, heart and liver as well.
Another horrendous fact he shared was that sometimes tiny needle, glass, stone or even a harmless thing such as a “dog-biscuit” can lead to an amputation because the patients can’t feel them. Such patients must check the feet regularly and if they suspect something’s fishy, “they need to go straight to the doctor.”
Dr. Boyne boils the problem to “ABC” by which he means A1C, the marker of blood sugar control; blood pressure and cholesterol. He says these three things must be balanced to reduce the risk of an amputation. But how can the patient do that? “With the DEFs” according to Dr. Boyne. He expresses that the patient will require significantly less medication and aggressive treatment if he takes care of his diet, do regular exercise, and pay attention to foot care using foot care products.
He told that the patients can experience dry heels faster than regular person and so, the feet must be washed, dried, moisturised and monitored regularly to keep amputation at bay. He stressed that patients dry their toes and the area between them after bathing. The most emphasized preventive measure mentioned by the doctor was to quit smoking altogether.