In our ever-changing world of wellness, there is an alarming and increasing number of individuals who live as amputees.
While this might reflect lives saved through modern medicine, it creates a need for lifelong changes and support for those who are amputees.
There are an estimated three million amputees in the United States. An average of 507 people will lose a limb every day leading to an estimated 185,000 amputations per year.
Vascular issues are the No. 1 cause of amputations worldwide, followed by trauma, then cancer/tumors. Of the vascular amputations, 50% are caused by diabetes.
According to Foluso A. Fakorede, a cardiologist, “in the United States, every 17 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes, and every day, 230 Americans with diabetes will suffer an amputation.”
Throughout the world, it is estimated that every 30 seconds, a leg is amputated, with 85% of these the result of a diabetic foot ulcer.”
With the majority of diabetic cases being able to be resolved with appropriate diet and health management, it is of utmost importance for compliance.
The mortality rate after diabetes-related amputation exceeds 70% at five years for all patients. Of people with diabetes who have had a lower leg amputation, up to 55% will require amputation of their second leg within two to three years. Those individuals having to undergo an amputation are around 30% more likely to suffer from depression and/or anxiety.
As amputation numbers rise, it is important to have resources and connections for those individuals.
No Limb-its Amputee Social and Support Gathering has been created for individuals living with limb loss and their spouses/care providers. Meetings include educational topics, discussions, recreational activities and guest speakers. It is a group that meets monthly to socialize on their experience as an amputee or provider of someone who has undergone an amputation. Individuals can share their struggles, learn new strategies to cope with limb loss and, most importantly, celebrate their successes.
This non-formal meeting also is about having fun and returning to activities that add to the quality of life. One of the best ways for individuals living with limb loss to learn how to thrive in their new normal is to meet and be around other people who have been through a similar experience and are grieving as they have. No Limb-its social and support gathering is a great resource for going through the journey of an amputation but also is a great way for a well-accommodated amputee to give back to others going through the process.
As a physical therapist that has taken great passion for working with individuals with limb loss, the most common complaint I have heard from individuals has been not knowing anyone that has undergone the same experience or not having anyone “like them” to talk to. No Limb-its is that opportunity to meet that person like you.
Meetings take place at 4 p.m. the first Monday of each month at Statera Integrated Health and Wellness Solutions, 3375 Lake Ridge Drive.
Amy McFadden is a physical therapist with Statera Integrated Health and Wellness Solutions in Dubuque.