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Frequent Microvascular Screenings Could Prevent Amputation in Diabetic Patients

With approximately 67 percent of all amputations in America attributed to diabetes, and an estimated 40 to 60 percent of those amputations due to peripheral artery disease-related diabetic neuropathy, researchers are scrambling to find ways to reduce the rate of amputation and help more diabetics keep their feet.

Now, a new study in the journal Diabetic Medicine suggests that combining microvascular screenings with diabetic patients' retinal screenings could help catch peripheral neuropathy sooner.

"Peripheral neuropathy can be hard to catch because it isn't always constant," says Dr. Nathan Weller, a Scottsdale, Arizona, peripheral neuropathy specialist. "Sometimes people will feel numbness and tingling in their hands and feet, but once those symptoms go away, they may assume they're cured, or that it's nothing serious."

But when it comes to diabetic peripheral neuropathy, nothing could be further from the truth.

"Early intervention is the best way to prevent amputation with diabetic peripheral neuropathy," says Weller. "But without diagnosis or treatment, that's not likely to happen."

In fact, studies have shown that putting off being seen by a doctor for over six weeks to address diabetic foot ulcers caused by peripheral neuropathy can increase the risk of amputation, and up to half of all amputations could be prevented if patients were more proactive in receiving medical attention regarding their peripheral neuropathy.

Furthermore, an estimated 70 to 90 percent of diabetic peripheral neuropathy-affected limbs can be saved by treating the condition in a timely manner. Early detection becomes even more crucial when you consider a 2015 study that found up to 50 percent of diabetic patients who undergo amputation will die within two years of the procedure.

"The facts speak for themselves here," says Weller. "Screening patients for neuropathy sooner can save their limbs, and their lives."

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Monday, 20 May 2019

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