Dr. Thomas Colletti
Diabetes Mellitus is classified as blood glucose levels that are too high within the body due to either the bodies lack of insulin production or due to the improper functioning of the insulin produced. It is estimated that the overall prevalence of diabetes in adults here in the United States ranges from 5.8-12.9%.1 Diabetic foot infections are among the most common reasons for hospital admissions in diabetic patients.2 Often times these foot infections lead to osteomyelitis, which dramatically increases the risk of lower extremity amputation.3 Luckily antibiotics have become a viable treatment option to try as a first step in treating these infections. However the notion still holds true that by amputating the affected bone you are removing the infection and essentially curing them of the osteomyelitis. Where this becomes an issue is the fact that these patients are diabetics, and therefore their ability to heal wounds is far lower than their non-diabetic counterparts. This leads to a term coined the diabetic whittle; first it starts with the removal of a toe, then they receive a ray amputation, followed by a below knee amputation, and ultimately leading to a dramatic above knee amputation. Sadly this cycle of diabetes, leading to osteomyelitis, leading to an amputation, is a truly tough cycle to break.
""The Diabetic Whittle": The Role of Diabetes Leading to the Loss of Limbs,"
Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science: Vol. 1
, Article 46.
Available at: https://digitalshowcase.lynchburg.edu/dmscjournal/vol1/iss3/46
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