diabetes misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosed with Diabetes? The Amputation Risk You Need to Know

Misdiagnosed with diabetes? Beware

Diabetes misdiagnosis is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences, including the tragic possibility of amputation. Diabetes affects your body’s ability to produce or effectively use insulin, a hormone needed to regulate blood sugar. When misdiagnosed or left untreated, too much sugar in your system can damage blood vessels and nerves, particularly in your extremities, such as your feet and legs. We will also explore the best steps to take when making a serious injury claim

What is Diabetes?

It’s important to understand exactly what diabetes is and how it works. There are two main types:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: This form usually develops in childhood or adolescence. Your body stops producing insulin entirely and you become dependent on daily insulin injections to survive.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: The more common type, often linked to lifestyle factors and obesity. Your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to it, making blood sugar regulation difficult.

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Common Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes can present a range of symptoms, some of which can be mistaken for other conditions. Be aware of these common signs:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Slow-healing wounds or cuts
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet

If you experience any of these symptoms, see your GP for testing as soon as possible.

How Misdiagnosis Happens

Sadly, diabetes misdiagnosis happens more often than you might think. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Confusing Symptoms: Diabetes shares symptoms with other conditions, making it tricky to pinpoint without proper testing.
  • Insufficient Testing: Some doctors may not order the specific blood tests needed to diagnose diabetes.
  • Dismissing Patient Concerns: Occasionally, patients’ symptoms may not be considered as seriously as they should be, leading to delayed diagnosis.

The Link Between Diabetes and Amputation

So, why does untreated or misdiagnosed diabetes increase the risk of amputation? Let’s break it down step by step:

Nerve Damage (Neuropathy): How High Blood Sugar Harms Your Feet

Think of high blood sugar as a slow poison for your nerves, especially those in your legs and feet. This damage is called diabetic neuropathy, and it leads to a whole host of problems:

  • Numbness: You might not feel blisters, cuts, or even something stuck in your shoe. Left untreated, these turn into bigger problems.
  • Changes in Foot Shape: Nerve damage weakens foot muscles, sometimes creating issues like hammertoes or Charcot foot. This leads to uneven pressure and a higher risk of sores.
  • Poor Blood Flow: Diabetes hurts blood vessels all over, and restricted blood flow to your feet has serious consequences:
    • Slow Healing: Tiny cuts take forever to heal, or don’t at all, which is a recipe for infection.
    • Tissue Death (Gangrene): In worst-case scenarios, lack of blood flow can cause tissue to die. Amputation might be needed to stop it from spreading.
  • Infection: Diabetes makes you more prone to infection everywhere, but especially your feet. Between feeling less and wounds healing poorly, even minor infections can get dangerous. Severe ones can reach the bone, and amputation might be the only way to save your life.

It’s important to understand that these complications don’t happen overnight. They develop gradually, which is why early diagnosis and management of diabetes are so vital to stop this harmful process before it reaches the point of amputation.

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Preventing Amputation

The good news is that diabetes-related amputations are often preventable with proper management and care. Here are crucial steps to take:

1. Early Diagnosis and Treatment: 

The sooner diabetes is diagnosed, the sooner you can start managing your blood sugar levels and reduce complications.

2. Regular Foot Checks: 

Have both your doctor and a podiatrist regularly examine your feet for any signs of problems.

3. Excellent Blood Sugar Control: 

Work with your healthcare team to maintain healthy blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and potentially medication.

4. Quit Smoking: 

Smoking severely restricts circulation and worsens diabetes risks.

Making a medical negligence Claim with National Claims

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Medical negligence cases can be emotionally taxing. We provide not only legal expertise but also compassionate support throughout your journey. We are here to answer your questions, offer reassurance, and ease the burden so you can focus on your recovery.


Though the risk of amputation with diabetes is real, it’s important to remember that it’s largely preventable. By knowing the symptoms of diabetes, advocating for yourself with healthcare providers, and taking proactive steps to manage the condition, you can significantly reduce your risk of complications.

If you suspect you may have diabetes, don’t hesitate to seek a diagnosis. And if you’ve been affected by a misdiagnosis, know that you are not alone. Support, resources, and the potential for legal recourse are available. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to protecting your health.

Contact us today to speak to one of our claims specialists who will be able to help you get started on your claim.

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