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Diabetes and Limb Loss

Updated on January 18, 2011

Don't lose your body's limbs to amputation

The main reason people with diabetes lose limbs is by poor diet control and disease management. Diabetes affects every organ of the body. Without exercise and medication, diabetes can damage the eyes, heart kidneys and the circulatory system. Poor circulation can lead to devastating amputations.

Many amputations can be blamed on poor diet and little or no exercise. Any or all of these can lead to kidney disease, blindness, and poor circulation throughout the body. If you have diabetes, it is your responsibility to keep tabs on warning signs in the feet. Doctors do a good job at checking the heart, but the don't always look at a diabetics feet.

Foot problems, such as coldness, numbness, tingling, or ingrown toenails are causes for close examination. When blood doesn't move throughout blood vessels, the body tissue dies. This can result in foot ulcers, dead nerves, infections, and even gangrene. When a persons limb is amputated, a person's mobility is lost, and usually the person's lifespan is shortened by 18 months.

The numbers of people with diabetes has doubled during the last 10 years. Diabetes is not some mild disease; it produces major implications on the quality of life. People with diabetes most likely will develop:

  • Heart disease

  • Kidney disease

  • Eye disease (cataracts, blindness, and others)

  • Vascular disease (poor circulation to hands and feet, and stroke)

  • Loss of nerve sensations (neuropathology)

Diabetes is harmful and it will cut your life short! On average, people with diabetes lose 12 to 14 years of their lives.

The quality of a diabetics life can deteriorate rapidly through blindness, loss of limbs, heart disease, kidney failure, stroke and more. Diabetes subtracts from the years of life expectancy, and decreases the quality of those years. Scientists call this “quality-adjusted years.” Men can expect to lose an average of 19 quality-adjusted years, while women lose around 22 years. It seems, to me, that erasing 20 years from a life is significant.

Depression and Type 2 Diabetes”

Additionally, recently the John Hopkins University released information that verifies depression and diabetes go hand-in-hand. Depression causes Type 2 diabetes, and Type 2 Diabetes can cause depression. Why?

Research suggests people with Type 2 diabetes live life avoiding exercise, smoking, over eating, or gain excess weight. Type 2 diabetes also includes serious emotional issues, and those affected seem to have personality disorders.

Still, however, many people with diabetes resist help. People know the risks associated with poor blood circulation caused by diabetes, and about potential loss of limbs, but refuse to alter their diets or lifestyles. This might be due to denial, but it could be because of a life-long pattern of self-destructive living choices.

Kidney disease can cause kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease. Maintaining blood pressure and blood glucose control is key. Protein in the urine can be the first sign of nephropathy.


Diabetic nephropathy does not usually have any symptoms until the kidneys are damaged severely. As the condition progresses, diabetics can experience:

  • Swelling of the feet and ankles

  • Pain, tingling sensations, or weakness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Periodic upset stomach

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping

  • Concentration difficulties

Gum disease (gingivitis) is another serious disorder that diabetes creates. Periodontal disease weakens the gums, and they can no longer support the teeth.

Eye disorders are more frequent in people who have diabetes, such as glaucoma, retinopathy, macular degeneration and cataracts. Blurred vision, vision loss, black spots, cobwebs or flashing lights are warning signs of eye trouble. People that fail to control their diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness.

Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, makes it difficult or impossible to get or maintain an erection during sexual activity. Men with diabetes are twice as likely to be impotent as men without diabetes.

Seven Deadly Foods:

Many foods add to diabetics problems, and continued consumption of certain foods can be certain ways to die younger.

Foods a diabetic should avoid are:

  • Butter

  • Cheese

  • Potato Chips and French Fries

  • Doughnuts

  • Salt

  • Sausage and Hot Dogs

  • Smoked, Barbecued, or Pickled meat

Foods that are high in saturated fat and trans fat are associated with high cancer rates. Cheese and butter contain more than ten times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat of poultry. Salt is linked to stomach cancer and stroke, even in low saturated fat diets. Doughnuts and French fries that are cooked in exceptionally hot oil, produces a cancer potion by combining carcinogens and carbohydrates.

It Doesn't Need To Be This Way!

Diabetes is preventable and controllable. But, only if you are willing to follow dietary advice and guidelines can prevent suffering from blindness, stroke, or limb amputation.

  • Avoid sugar in all its forms: Soda, Cookies, and Candies

  • Eat a diet at or below the glycemic index

  • Find ways to deal with your sugar addiction

  • Exercise: walking is great


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    • profile image

      Kobidobidog 7 years ago

      Humans do not need to get this ,and many other things at all. Techniques to look for when looking for one are;Atlas Orthogonal, specific UP C technique,advanced Orthogonality,Pettibon, Grostic,Laney technique, IUCCA/AUCB, UPC Orthogonal- Cowin, Zimmerman(SAM), Sutter,Knee chest is good too use it if it is near you.Some can wait to long and get a chronic condition not responding to care,and going early will for preventive purposes will end up costing less,and acquiring a better quality of life than you would've otherwise had, so time is important. Sherman ,and strait chiropractic collage.

    • profile image

      Bartlett Dentist 7 years ago

      Just to share the information that a Bartlett Dentist said to me. He said that having bad oral health affects our entire system. We could have diabetes, heart disease and cancer. As the bacteria penetrates our mouth, the bacteria also runs with the food we intake, and then goes to our entire body.

    • ivori profile image

      Barbara Eisenberg 8 years ago from Titusville

      Thank you, Walking Equip.

    • Walking Equipment profile image

      Walking Equipment 8 years ago from Phoenix AZ

      Excellent article,

      Studies have shown that a fitness walking routine can help prevent diabetes.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for a very informative hub on diabetes and loss of limbs. thanks for sharing. creativeone59