The amputation of a limb is a traumatic life-changing event, yet more than 500 Americans lose a limb each day.
April is National Limb Loss Awareness Month, and the Amputee Coalition, the leading national organization for amputees, is on a mission to increase awareness about those living with limb loss. Currently, an estimated two million people live with limb loss every day in the U.S. The Coalition estimates that 185,000 amputations occur each year.
“People often feel uncomfortable or shy when broaching the subject of limb loss,” said Peggy Chenoweth, who works with the Amputee Coalition and is an amputee herself. “I am excited about this unifying event, which will foster opportunities to educate others about amputees living within their community.”
The organization is encouraging amputees to participate in Show Your Mettle Day on April 23, in which they will proudly wear and show their prosthetic devices, and post pictures on the Coalition’s social media platforms.
“The concept is simple,” said Chenoweth. “By wearing and revealing their prosthetics, amputees demonstrate their courage and spirit in dealing with a difficult situation. They are to be commended for their mettle — their fortitude — in coping with their limb loss.”
The Amputee Coalition observes Limb Loss Awareness Month not only to raise awareness but to increase public knowledge of prevention, especially for people who are most at risk. The Coalition also encourages fundraisers such as walk/run/roll events in communities across the country and offers a free event kit on its website http://www.amputee-coalition.org/events-programs/limb-loss-awareness-month.
Amputations occur or are medically necessary for a number of reasons, such as trauma or cancer, but diabetes or a vascular impairment like peripheral arterial disease (PAD) are the leading causes of amputations. People with diabetes are at high risk for amputation because of the damage the disease inflicts on the arteries.
Ethnicity plays a role in developing diabetes and Latinos are more prone to develop type 2 diabetes than the general population. According to the American Diabetes Association, 12.8 percent of Latinos will develop diabetes compared to 7.6 percent for non-Latino whites. Amputee Coalition research also suggests that the rate of amputation among Latinos is roughly twice that of non-Latino whites.
“Type 2 diabetes is a very serious issue in Latino communities, and we know more than 60 percent of all amputations are caused by diabetes,” said Amputee Coalition President & CEO Susan Stout. “That’s why we are committed to providing as much information as possible in Spanish about living with limb loss.”
The Amputee Coalition has an extensive resource center with materials in Spanish. Latinos will find information on prosthetics, general health, upper and lower limb amputation, and much more. The information is free and on the coalition’s website www.amputee-coalition.org.
About the Amputee Coalition
The Amputee Coalition, headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is “to reach out to and empower people affected by limb loss to achieve their full potential through education, support and advocacy, and to promote limb loss prevention.” For more information about limb loss, please call 888/267-5669 or visit the Amputee Coalition Web site at amputee-coalition.org.
Contributed: Hispanicize Wire – Amputee Coalition Observes Limb Loss Awareness Month in April