Recent studies published in Podiatry Today show that 42% of patients were seen for major amputation surgery in 2020, a sharp increase from 18% in 2019. Because of these findings, experts stress the importance of preventative care in diabetic patients.
Another reason for the spike in amputations can also be attributed to the increase in the number of patients who waited too long to see a doctor because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers say that individuals couldn’t manage diabetic ulcer complications in an outpatient setting because they couldn’t see a specialist.
Furthermore, the studies noted a higher degree of tissue loss in pandemic patients than in pre-pandemic new amputees. The number has risen to 59% more in 2020 than in 2019. Experts believe that the aforementioned delay in treatment led to more complications.
Before the pandemic, people with diabetes needed to keep a wound clean and use an over-the-counter ointment to speed up the healing process. But because of the different complications patients encountered during the pandemic, more diabetic patients dealt with unhealed wounds that went through various infection stages until they could see a specialist in the hospital.Although the numbers are grim, specialists urge people with diabetes to follow up with their primary care physician or wound care doctor so they can catch issues early before amputation becomes the only option.