At the start of each year, most of us vow to turn over a new leaf in at least one area of our lives. Whether the goal is to eat healthier, exercise more, quit smoking, or save money, the start of a new year generally fills us with the motivation to better ourselves. For amputees, and those who may face future limb loss, the implications of making these changes can be transformative.
While the stories of limb loss that are most often portrayed by the media are of those involving traumatic events, the reality is that the most common causes for amputation are underlying health issues, such as diabetes and cancer, that build over time and can often be avoided or minimized.
It is estimated that more than 60% of amputations are preventable.
If you or a loved one is currently living with limb loss, or at risk of future amputation, here are a few of the most important resolutions you can make for 2014 and beyond:
There are thousands of reasons to quit smoking. In addition to reducing your risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease you will also greatly reduce your chances of amputation or re-amputation. Smoking cigarettes has been associated with a re-amputation risk 25 TIMES that of nonsmokers.
Plus, smoking is expensive. So quitting will also help you knock that pesky “save money” resolution off your list for 2014.
Check Your Feet
Those suffering from diabetes are prone to circulation issues that can lead to skin ulcers and eventually, limb loss. If you are unsure of what to watch for, check out this step by step guide published by the Mayo Clinic.
Wear proper, well-fitting footwear. Yes, this is a great excuse to buy new shoes.
Schedule a Physical
Before you finish reading this article, call your doctor to schedule a physical. It’s the best first step you can take for a healthy year.
Be honest with your physician about your history and current health. If you don’t share openly and honestly, they won’t know what to look for.
Maintain a Healthy Diet & Exercise Regularly
Just 30 minutes of walking, five times a week is enough to improve your overall health, from decreasing the symptoms of diabetes and depression to increasing bone density to preventing cancer.
54% of amputations are the result of vascular disease. By maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly, you will improve your overall cardiovascular health and significantly reduce your risk of limb loss from vascular disease.
A New Year is a great time to start taking the steps toward creating a healthier and happier life for yourself and your family. We encourage you to share your own resolutions and goals in the comments below.
You can learn more and access MANY new resources and tips on our Pinterest board: Preventing Limb Loss!
Happy New Year!