Who is most at risk of amputation from poor blood flow in the legs?

If you have diabetes, you are at greater risk of having reduced blood flow to your legs and foot muscles due to fatty blockages that develop with peripheral artery disease, or PAD. If PAD becomes severe, ulcers and gangrene of the legs and feet can occur and, if left untreated, the limbs can be starved of oxygen and may require amputation of toes, a foot or leg.

According to the National Limb Loss Center, people most at risk for amputation due to severe, untreated PAD are:

• People with diabetes, particularly those who develop chronic foot ulcers
• People age 65 and older
• Men with PAD, who are more likely to have limb loss than women with the same disease
• People in certain ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, who are at high risk for developing diabetes and PAD  


Continue Learning about Amputation as a Physical Disability

Amputation as a Physical Disability

The National Library of Medicine defines an amputee as a person who as lost a limb, an arm or a leg. While other amputations (such as breast) are done, they are considered differently. The most common reason for amputation is not ...

injury, but peripheral artery disease. Other reasons include cancer or an extremely severe infection that is not responding. Amputees may have phantom pain which is pain that seems to be in the limb that is missing. This often goes away after a period of weeks to months. Part of rehabilitation after an amputation may be fitting with an artificial or prosthetic limb and training in how to use it. Amputees are encouraged to exercise, and special prosthetics have been developed to help golf swings or enable skiing.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.