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Barbara Bush Lost Two Toes Due To A Condition Related To Aging, Says Jenna Hager Bush; How Normal Is This?

This week, Jenna Bush Hager revealed that her grandmother, former first lady Barbara Bush, 91, only has four toes on each of her feet. 

Hager, 35, originally said the toes fell off, and it “happened with age.” She later corrected herself by explaining that her grandmother's toes didn’t just fall off, but rather were amputated due to overcrowding caused by hammer-toe, according to Yahoo Beauty. However, auto-amputation, or the spontaneous loss of a body part, can actually happen in the elderly.

Read: Diabetes Symptoms 2016: Everything You Need To Know

Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a podiatric surgeon at City Podiatry in Manhattan, told Yahoo Beauty that sometimes, the toes of elderly individuals can develop something called dry gangrene, which leads to auto-amputation. Dry gangrene may occur when there is poor circulation in a body part, something that is more common as we grow older. As the body loses circulation, usually in a small area such as a toe or fingertip, the tissue dies. Once the tissue is dead, it may spontaneously fall off.

feet Toes can spontaneously fall off if they do not receive enough blood circulation. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

However, before you start holding onto your toes just yet, Sutera explained that poor circulation is not a universal trait of getting older and is more prone in individuals with certain health problems such as diabetes, varicose veins, heart disease, thyroid conditions, history of alcohol abuse, smoking, and even certain types of injuries.

According to Healthline, some common symptoms and causes of poor circulation include tingling, numbness, pain, muscle cramps, and throbbing. Although poor circulation isn’t a disease, but rather a symptom of a disease, it's important go to a doctor at the earliest sign, as if left untreated it could lead to limb-loss.

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