In this Section:
Birth Amputations: Diabetes
Diabetes | Types of Diabetes
and Amputation |
There are approximately 135 million people with diabetes in the world.
Diabetes is a disorder in which a person's glucose
level is too high because not enough insulin
is produced. Glucose comes from the foods people eat and our bodies use
it for energy. When a person has diabetes, his or her pancreas does not
produce enough insulin so the glucose builds up in the blood and cannot
get to the cells. The body can be seriously harmed if the glucose level
is too high. One serious consequence is damage to the nerves throughout
the body (diabetic neuropathy),
leading to numbness, pain and weakness in the extremities, which may eventually
lead to the need for amputation.
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Types of Diabetes
There are three types of diabetes, Type I Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and
Gestational Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is most common in children and will
stay for the rest of his or her life. With Type 1 Diabetes, the body does
not make insulin. Treatments for Type 1 Diabetes include taking insulin
shots or using an insulin pump. Factors that help control Type 1 Diabetes
include keeping a healthy diet, controlling blood pressure, and controlling
Type 2 Diabetes is more common than Type 1 and can be diagnosed at any
age. In Type 2 Diabetes, the insulin produced does not function properly.
Type 2 Diabetes seems to run in families. Treatment for this includes
taking medicine and exercising regularly.
Diabetes occurs during pregnancy. Sometimes when a woman is pregnant,
her body produces hormones that effect insulin. The body produces extra
insulin to make up for this loss. In this case, even the extra insulin
is not enough. Gestational Diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy.
For some unlucky women, though, it can become Type 2 Diabetes.
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Diabetes and diabetic neuropathies
are the leading cause of amputation in the lower limbs. People with Diabetes
have a twenty-five times greater risk for amputation than those without
the disease. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the likelihood
of this nerve damage that may result in amputation. There are a number
of factors that contribute to the severity of the neuropathy, including
lifestyle factors (smoking, being overweight), heredity, and high blood
glucose levels. People with this ailment need to take very good care of
their feet and this can sometimes help to prevent amputation.