In this essay, I will be discussing the
uniqueness of living with diabetes and having an amputation as a
result, in comparison to someone without the condition.
Diabetes Mellitus (often called
just diabetes) is a condition which can be recognised in two
different types; Type 1 and Type 2. People diagnosed with diabetes
find themselves with one of these types, however, type 2 is much more common.
90% of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes have Type
2 1. The condition itself can be defined as a condition where
the pancreas fails to create and supply the body with enough insulin to support
the body’s blood sugars 2. Type 1 diabetes is the type which you are born
with, and cannot be prevented. Type 2 is developed in later life
due to a number of reasons. For example, poor dieting or obesity.
Diabetes can often result in an
amputation, however, this is not always the case. One can define an amputation
as the removal of a limb or body part for medical reasons. Diabetes and
amputations are often linked – the lack of sugar level management in the body
can lead to nerve damage, especially in the feet. With improper treatment,
amputations are sometimes the only solution. There are 135 amputations a week
due to diabetes, and 3.6 million people in the UK have diabetes alone.
Shockingly, 1 million people have Type 2 diabetes and don’t know due to a lack
of diagnostics 3.
Despite this, not everyone with
diabetes needs an amputation. Amputations can be prevented, as can
diabetes. But once you are diagnosed with diabetes, there is no cure for it.
Amputations can also be needed even for people without diabetes, depending on
Whilst suffering from diabetes, and
because there is no cure, medical professionals can only recommend correct
maintenance of the body to support diabetes. Taking care of the feet
is one of the most vital things anyone can do when diabetes is present. To do
this, the feet should regularly be examined for any sort of cuts or scratches.
A diabetic patient might find that, due to a loss of sensation in the feet,
they won’t feel any damage to the feet. Because of this, a small, unrecognised
cut might lead to an infection, yet the patient won’t know unless they had
examined the foot earlier. Diabetes can be linked with several
medical complications, which the sufferer might experience some or none of. For
instance, nerve damage and cardiovascular disease are just two of the many
medical complications which might follow diabetes. For someone without
diabetes, it’s obvious that they don’t have to check their feet regularly, and
that the chance of these medical complications is much lower.
Diabetes can also run in the family. It
has been scientifically proven that if someone has been diagnosed with
diabetes, their next generation (i.e their children) might also carry the
diabetic gene, and will suffer from a higher chance of developing diabetes.
However, it is not certain, and only the chance of developing
diabetes increases. 4
As it grows more and more common, more
people are finding themselves with a diabetic diagnosis, simply because the world
around us is developing in an unhealthy way. As food on our shelves is becoming
less healthier by the minute, one can argue that diabetes is on the rise
because the food in shops is getting worse for nutrition. For prevention,
someone can simply make sure their diet is healthy and includes the required
nutrition, and that they are keeping active. If someone fails to comply with
these, they might find that their risk of diabetes will rise.
As mentioned before, diabetes is often
linked to amputations. Lower limb amputations are much more common (this
includes the feet and legs). Amputations are categorised by the
following; major and minor amputations. An amputation is classed as
major if it is above the knee, and an amputation is classed as minor
if it finds itself below the knee. Amputations are further categorised, by
either lateral or bilateral. A lateral amputation includes just
one leg, and a bilateral amputation includes both legs.
An amputation can occur due to many
reasons. As made clear in this essay so far, diabetes is one of these factors.
Experiences that result in an amputation can be classified as
either traumatic or non-traumatic. A traumatic amputation is
sudden and unexpected, where a non-traumatic amputation is expected and
has been happening over time. A diabetic related amputation would fit in the
non-traumatic sector. Someone living with an amputation which hasn’t been as a
result of diabetes could fit into either category. An amputation due to a car
crash would be traumatic, yet an amputation due to gangrene would be
People who have previously undergone an
amputation sometimes experience something called Phantom Limb Pain. Phantom
Limb Pain is a pain which comes from a limb or body part which no longer exists
on that person’s body. For example, someone might have their right leg
amputated. Later in life, they might begin to experience painful sensations
from this limb, despite it not being there. As of today, this can be treated,
however, doctors are unable to find a specific cause. Because of this, their
assumption is that the brain sends pain signals as a sign that something is
wrong when there are no nerve signals from the missing limb 5. This can
be inflicted on amputations related to diabetes or not, so anyone with an
amputation may experience this in their day-to-day life.