Amputees face many challenges in their life, primarily when dealing with the issues of the amputated limb. But, for many amputees, the complication of an amputated limb is only one aspect of their health concerns. If you are caring for an amputee who lives with diabetes, there are very specific health issues that will be important to address from not only a physical standpoint, but also a mental health standpoint.
Diabetic amputees experience many health issues that are similar to that of other diabetic patients, including those without amputees. With the need to manage blood glucose levels diligently, diet and exercise are important. But, in addition, other health factors, including cardiovascular health, kidney health, and even weight management are a concern.
For the diabetic amputee, the issues of weight gain associated with diabetes can be a challenging matter to face. Because an amputee may have difficult in engaging in some forms of exercise, there may be a lack of motivation to engage in exercise or fitness of any kind. It is important, therefore, when caring for a diabetic amputee, that you find physical fitness programs that are designed for the person with an amputee in an effort to boost confidence while encouraging physical fitness and manageable weight.
Neuropathic pain is another health issue that is faced by many diabetics. Because diabetes plays a significant role in the development of pain in the limbs, it is not uncommon for a diabetic amputee to experience higher-than-normal phantom pain in the area of the missing limb. Therefore, it is important to not only manage the diabetes effectively, so as to reduce the neuropathic pain, but to also closely manage the phantom pain complications.
And, finally, for the diabetic amputee, there is a marked need for services in terms of mental health. While being an amputee can pose some degree of negative emotions, being diabetic can also impose some degree of complications. With poorly managed blood glucose levels, the diabetic amputee will experience fatigue, lethargy and other mental health complications.
To effectively overcome the risks for complications, it is important, when caring for the diabetic amputee, to find ways to balance both the diabetes as well as the amputation risks by using diet, exercise, mental health, and, above all, keeping medication and treatment moving forward.
Sources: 2009 Empowers Patient’s Complete Reference to Amputees and Prostheses, by PM Medical Health News