How Diabetes Affects the Feet
There's no sense in pussyfooting around: Diabetes poses a serious danger to your dogs. Having the condition doubles the risk for foot disease. In fact, about 30 percent of people with diabetes who are older than 40 develop medical problems with their feet. The damaged nerves and poor blood circulation that often accompany elevated blood sugar ensure that there is no such thing as a minor cut, scrape, bump, or bruise on the foot when you have diabetes.
While blood-sugar problems can create a dizzying range of hard-to-treat complications, lower-limb diseases that are not properly treated can deteriorate so quickly and so badly that doctors have no other choice but to eliminate the problem altogether. That's another way of saying that people with diabetes account for 60 percent of all lower-limb amputations in the United States. In fact, a patient with diabetes is 10 to 30 times more likely to have a lower limb amputated than a person without the disease.
For two sturdy performers who take a daily pounding, the feet are surprisingly complex structures. Combined, your two feet have more than one-quarter of the bones in your body -- 26 each. Although they form the foundation for the body, the feet aren't static blocks but agile and dynamic machines of movement, with more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments apiece. Given their workload and all those moving parts, it's not surprising that about 75 percent of Americans experience one foot condition or another in their lifetime, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. (Podiatrists are foot doctors.)
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