Diabetes Claims the Leg of Guitar Hero Leslie West

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Leslie West Undergoes Leg Amputation Due To DiabetesIt was reported that legendary guitarist Leslie West had his right leg amputated below the knee on Monday. West is diabetic and had swelling in his leg over the weekend. Guitarist for 60's rock group Mountain, West had performed at Woodstock and is well known for hits such as "Mississippi Queen" among others.

It was reported that an infection had started in West's foot and had spread into the bloodstream. The amputation was necessary to save his life. The condition was complicated by the presence of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) which is a common complication associated with diabetes. West was scheduled to play in Biloxi, MS when he entered the hospital. Despite doctors attempting to save his limb for two days, it was determined that amputation was necessary.

It cannot be understated how important an association with a podiatrist is for all people with diabetes. If West's PAD was detected earlier, it could have been addressed with medication or a procedure to improve the blood flow to the foot. This could have allowed the infection to be in better control or possibly could have prevented it entirely. There also could have been added protection implemented for the foot. This could have included therapeutic shoes, multidensity insoles, and diabetic socks.

Without protection, the diabetic foot is at risk for developing an open wound known as a diabetic foot ulcer. This break in the skin on the bottom of the foot often develops from a callus that breaks down. People with diabetes offer suffer from diabetic peripheral neuropathy which does not allow them to feel the pain associated with these wounds. A diabetic foot ulcer has a great tendency to become infected because of the poor circulation associated with PAD.

Could regular visits to the podiatrist have saved Leslie West's leg? Of course there are times where a limb cannot be saved. However, the life of a rock star on the road likely did not make this possible. Let's take the opportunity to learn from this situation and hope that many will be inspired to visit their podiatirst and take the first step to keep both legs, both feet, and all ten toes intact. I wish Leslie West a speedy recovery and strength as he starts to overcome this situation. I'm sure he'll be back with guitar in hand in no time.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
Sad story that we hear too often. I hope people see this and realize just how important podiatric treatment for diabetics is. Keep up with the great posts! Your friends in St. Louis http://mofoot.com/
by St. Louis Podiatrist June 27, 2011 at 11:15 AM
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