Diabetes-related amputation problems in Bexar County: How can you stay healthy?

More than 13% or 280,000 people in Bexar County have diabetes, according to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District

SAN ANTONIO – With a rate that surpasses the rest of the state and the country, diabetes is a known problem in Bexar County. But now that doctors are noticing more people getting amputations as a result of complications with the illness, they’re talking to KSAT about what people can do to keep their limbs.

According to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s 2020 Diabetes report, more than 13% or 280,000 people in Bexar County have diabetes. Experts agree the best way to prevent complications from the illness is to eat a healthful diet, exercise regularly, check your blood sugar often, and take your medicine correctly.

Dr. John Hogg, radiologist and founder of the Medical Vein Clinic in San Antonio also recommends diabetics do two other things: check their feet and legs.

“You need to see if your legs are heavy or swelling or we see bulging veins. If you’re starting to see discoloration, a lot of people start getting...dark brown [spots]...that’s from red blood cells that have died in your leg because the veins couldn’t move them back uphill to get oxygen,” said Dr. Hogg.

Dr. Hogg says most of his patients at the Medical Vein Clinic have diabetes. So, he believes helping them avoid amputations is a key part of his job.

“The treatment is, we close that bad vein...rather than taking it out, we just get it to shrivel up. And we have you on a walking program afterward. And you generate your new pathways to existing little veins,” said Dr. Hogg.

Men are more likely than women to get amputations as a result of diabetes. That’s why the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District started something called The Diabetes Garage.

“It uses car analogies to explain diabetes care and maintenance,” said Julius Hunter, program coordinator for Metro Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control program.

Hunter told KSAT that The Diabetes Garage is like a club. It’s exclusively for Bexar County men. Members gather for a series of free workshops over four weeks to learn how to prevent or manage diabetes.

“What do you do when that ‘check engine’ light comes on? Usually, most people’s response is...’ well, I need to go take it to the mechanic.’ Same thing...with your body. It’s important to go and get those things checked at your doctor,” said Hunter.

To register for a workshop, click here.


Local doctor warns of diabetes crisis in San Antonio

About the Authors

Stephania Jimenez is an anchor on The Nightbeat. She began her journalism career in 2006, after graduating from Syracuse University. She's anchored at NBC Philadelphia, KRIS in Corpus Christi, NBC Connecticut and KTSM in El Paso. Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Stephania considers Texas home. Stephania is bilingual! She speaks Spanish.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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