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Diabetic Nerve Damage: the Height Connection

By Bob Fleming

If you have diabetes, it may be better to be short than tall.

Why? Well, it has to do with those pseky foot and leg ulcers that can cause anthing from minor inconvenience to amputation. When ulcers become series, it's becaue they have become infected, perhaps even leading to gangrene"which is the major reason for amputation.

In the general population, a simple cut or other open wound isn't usually a problem, because it causes some degree of pain that alerts the person to its presence and allows him or her to seek treatment.

Diabetics, however, are prone to nerve damage, which can mean they have ulcers on feet or legs and aren't even aware of them until they have become serious problems.

That's where the height difference comes in. According to a study by the National Taiwan University Hospital, reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, taller diabetics are more likjely to need amputation than those who are shorter.

The reason? The nerves that lead to the legs and feet are the longest in the body, making them especially vulnerable to diabetic nerve damage. Naturally,the taller you are the longer those nerves are, and the more susceptible they are to deterioration and loss of function.

The shorter nerves of shorter diabetics are not as open to damage, so those people are better able to feel the pain when a cut or other wound happens, giving them a chance to deal with it before it causes serious damage.

So if you are a tall diabetic, is this cause for panic or despair? Not at all. It just reinforces the advice we diabetics have always been given: look after your feet and legs carefully, check regularly for wounds, ulcers or anything unusual"and get them treated right away.

And yes, that goes for diabetics both short and tall!

About The Author

Bob Fleming suffers from Type 2 diabetes, but he does everything he can to suffer as little as possible!


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