People with diabetes who are male and divorced are more likely to have their limbs amputated compared to females and married individuals living with the condition, latest evidence claims.

Researchers from Sweden have found that being male and divorced increases your risk of having limbs amputated more so than being obese.

During the study, they examined the health of 66,569 people, from diagnosis to amputation and emigration to death. Most of the participants had type 2 diabetes.

They discovered that divorcees are 67% more at risk of having a limb amputated compared to those who are married.

In addition, they found that men were 57% more likely to have an amputation compared to women.

Meanwhile, people with obesity were only 46% more at risk of having an amputation compared to people with a lower weight, the study has reported.

The authors said: “Divorcees could be higher risk due to a change in self-care and food habits observed in people when they divorce and are more likely to be living alone.

“Specifically with men, this is often related to more social isolation with a secondary effect of low physical activity.”

They added: “Lifestyle variables have a strong association with lower limb amputation, and an increase in physical activity, avoidance of being underweight and smoking cessation may be impactful interventions to reduce the risk.

“Early lower limb complications after a diabetes diagnosis or complications present at diagnosis are warning signs, and these patients should be given extra attention.”

Diabetes UK Research Communications Manager, Dr Faye Riley, said: “Diabetes is serious and is the cause of more than 180 amputations a week in the UK. However, with the right care many of these are preventable.

“This study identifies a range of factors that may be linked with a higher risk of amputation among people with diabetes, and raises interesting questions about how social support can influence our health behaviours and outcomes.”

She concluded: “By pinpointing which people with diabetes are most at risk, support can be targeted where it’s most needed.

“However, more work is needed to understand if and how the findings could be used to help prevent serious foot problems.”

These findings will be presented at this year’s European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) conference in Hamburg, which is taking place from October 2 to 6.

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