From prevention to self-care following a major procedure, millions of Americans are touched by amputation to some degree. In honor of Limb Loss Awareness Month this April, discover what puts an individual at risk, as well as what remarkable limb-different individuals continue to accomplish.

Those who have had an amputation, or are at risk for one, also face a number of related complications.

  • Every day in the U.S., there are over 500 amputations, adding up to more than 185,000 amputations every year.

  • Diabetes is the leading cause of amputation in America, followed by traumatic injury and cancer. It is estimated that 33 percent of Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

  • Sixty percent of amputations are preventable. For example regular foot doctor visits for diabetics could prevent 80 percent of diabetes‐related amputations.

  • People with lower extremity amputation who smoke cigarettes have a 25 times higher re‐amputation risk than non-smokers.

  • Almost half of the people who have an amputation due to vascular disease and/or diabetes will die within five years. That’s higher than the five-year mortality rates for breast, colon and prostate cancer.

  • As many as 55 percent of individuals who lose a limb due to diabetes and/or vascular disease, will experience an amputation to their other leg within two to three years.

  • African‐Americans are about four times more likely to be amputees than white Americans. Hispanic/Latino Americans are one-and-a-half times more likely than whites to undergo amputations.

  • Over two-thirds of trauma-related amputations happen to adolescents and adults under age 45. 

If you’re an amputee, spouse, family member, caregiver, support group leader or professional who works with the limb loss community, visit the Amputee Coalition 2016 National Conference to meet new friends, learn about new technology, and attend sessions to help live a full and productive life with limb loss.

When:  June 9-11

Where: Greensboro, North Carolina

Tweet: #ShowYourMettle

What questions should you ask your prosthetist when looking for the best prosthetic fit?

1. Is it going to hurt?

2. How many different types of prosthetic devices will I need?

3. How long is this going to take to get the device?

4. How do I clean my prosthetic device?

5. If it's a leg amputation, when will I be able to walk?

6. Will I be able to walk with a normal gait?

7. Will I be able to run?

8. Will I be able to wear any kind of shoes?

9. Will I be able to get my device wet? Go to the beach or shower with it?

10. Typically how long will a prosthesis last?

We asked two industry advocates why raising awareness is so important for the amputee community?

Danielle H. Melton, M.D.

“Members of the limb loss community must be advocates. We are a relatively small group. Unlesswe advocate, our collective voices may not be heard.”

Terrence P. Sheehan, M.D.

“It is important that you have grassroots advocacy and build numbers. Social media has allowed us to come together to grow.”—