From Rockford, Illinois, USA:
I am a 56 year old white male. I was diagnosed with Type 2 five years ago. I had both legs amputated above the knee due to an infection. What do I have to worry about as far as my diabetes is concerned?
The main concern about complications for people with Type 2 diabetes is problems with blood vessels and with the nervous system.
The problems with blood vessels can affect the large blood vessels (macrovascular disease) in the heart, brain, and major arteries. There also can be damage to the small blood vessels (microvascular disease) in the eyes, kidneys, and skin. In your case, I'd wonder if part of your present health problems is poor circulation in the large vessels, which might have contributed to the need for amputation. What to do? If you're still smoking, quit this moment! If your cholesterol or blood pressure or blood sugar levels are high, get them down! And get your eyes checked, and a 24-hour urine test, and heart studies, annually.
People with Type 2 diabetes can also have problems with decreased ability to feel pain in the feet and legs, due to diabetic neuropathy. If you can't feel things correctly, you could have a blister that could break, get infected, and lead to more trouble. In your case, it's still an issue, if your artificial legs don't fit right, and rub against the stumps. There's no cure for the neuropathy, except blood sugar control. And if you drink alcohol, quit (alcohol can also cause a neuropathy, and aggravate diabetic neuropathy).
It's not a pretty discussion, but neither is learning to cope with amputations. If you're not already under the care of an endocrinologist with access to a diabetes nurse educator, and dietitian, you should be. You've learned to live without your feet; now it's time to learn to live with your diabetes.
Original posting 7 Apr 1998
Posted to Complications
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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