The Amputee Coalition has designated April as Limb Loss Awareness Month. More than 2 million Americans are living with limb loss, and that number is expected to double by 2050 unless changes are made to increase public awareness about limb loss prevention.
The goals of Limb Loss Awareness Month are to provide support for individuals within the limb loss community, raise public awareness about limb loss prevention, provide a platform for individuals to discuss any issues encountered when dealing with limb loss and recognize contributions of military veteran amputees.
“Limb loss is not uncommon, and it affects every generation, from young to old, and people from all walks of life. Statistics show that those at greatest risk are people who have diabetes or a vascular impairment such as peripheral arterial disease,” Kendra Calhoun, Amputee Coalition president and chief executive officer, stated in a press release.
The 2012 campaign theme is “Take a Seat; Check Your Feet.” The Amputee Coalitions hopes that it will encourage people with diabetes to visit their doctors for a foot check, because the introduction of comprehensive foot care, including regular visits with a podiatrist, has been associated with reducing diabetes-related amputations by up to 80%.
“Not all amputations are preventable, so this is also a month to recognize other causes for limb loss: cancer, disease, trauma and war,” Dan Berschinski, a bilateral amputee and decorated war veteran on the Amputee Coalition board, stated in the release. “We support the sacrifices of our returning veterans who have suffered amputation in combat. These veterans are receiving the highest level of care from the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense, and this remains a top priority. This is also a time to raise awareness of those veterans who later in life may be experiencing amputation from vascular disease, diabetes, accidents or other complications.”