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Divorced diabetic men at highest limb amputation risk, study finds

Diabetes-related amputations, particularly lower limb amputations, have been a significant concern among the patients due to the complications associated with the disease, including neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease. These complications can lead to non-healing wounds, infections, and tissue damage, often necessitating amputation as a last resort to prevent further health risks.

Now, a recent research study has highlighted that among people with diabetes, divorced males face the highest risk of undergoing partial or complete amputation of their feet and legs due to the disease.
Swedish medical researchers conducted a study examining the various demographic, socioeconomic, medical, and lifestyle factors that are linked to the risk of lower limb amputations in individuals with diabetes.

This research team utilised data from the national diabetes register in Sweden, focusing on individuals aged 18 and above who had received a diabetes diagnosis between 2007 and 2016.

According to The Independent, The 66,569-strong cohort was followed from diagnosis to amputation, emigration, death, or the end of the study in 2017. Some 133 had an amputation during the median follow-up of four years.

“By pinpointing which people with diabetes are most at risk, support can be targeted where it’s most needed,” Dr Faye Riley told The Independent.

The study suggests that people with diabetes who are divorced face a significantly higher risk of undergoing lower limb amputation, with their likelihood increasing by two-thirds (67%) compared to those who are married. Moreover, men with diabetes have a 57% higher risk of facing this outcome compared to women.

As reported by The Guardian, the researchers who conducted the study acknowledged that they couldn’t definitively determine the exact reasons why divorced individuals of both genders faced a significantly higher risk of lower limb amputation compared to married people. However, they put forth the speculation that this heightened risk might be linked to alterations in self-care and dietary habits that tend to emerge when individuals experience divorce and subsequently find themselves more inclined to live alone.

“Specifically with men, this is often related to more social isolation, with a secondary effect of low physical activity,” they added.