Diabetics have up to a 25% chance of requiring foot amputations over the course of a lifetime. On the bright side, a new study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery found that diabetics who took statins were less likely to require a lower extremity amputation. This is just one of the many ways a person can decrease the risk of such a traumatic event.
Statin Use Lowers Risk Of Foot Amputations
The study followed 83,953 patients (64 or younger) who had Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and were treated in the US Department of Veteran Affairs System. Over the course of five years, researchers noted that the major risk factors for foot amputations included:
– Peripheral Neuropathy
– Peripheral Artery Disease
– Foot Ulcers
Of the 83,953 patients studied, 217 patients experienced a lower extremity amputation and 11,716 experienced a lower extremity amputation or death. Statins are a class of cholesterol-lowering medication that works by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme to slow down cholesterol production in the liver. Brand names include Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor.
Researchers found that statin users were 35 to 43% less likely to experience a lower extremity amputation and treatment failure than non-Statin users. They added that users of other cholesterol-lowering medications had a 41% lower risk of treatment failure, although their risk for amputations was the same.
Germicidal UV Lamps Lower Risk For Foot Ulcers
Foot ulcers were noted as one of the biggest risk factors for requiring amputation. This finding underscores the importance for diabetics to conduct a daily foot inspection — looking for cuts, blisters or other unusual markings that could ultimately turn into ulcers. An ordinary cut or blister can be innocuous if it is promptly cleansed, disinfected and covered with a bandage to prevent infection. Using a device like the SteriShoe germicidal UV lamp to sanitize all footwear on a daily basis can limit the number of harmful microbes surrounding the feet. Within just one 45-minute cycle, 99.9% of the harmful fungus, bacteria and other pathogens are killed. Best of all, this easy device can be used in the comfort of one’s own home, rather than at the podiatrist’s office.
Other Techniques For Lowering Amputation Risk
– Control blood sugar with a healthy diet.
– Use insulin, as directed by a physician.
– Get annual foot exams from a podiatrist.
– Call a doctor if a foot aberration takes more than a few weeks to show signs of healing.
– Follow our Top 10 Foot Care Tips For Diabetics.