Diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble using a sugar called glucose, for energy. As a result, the sugar level in your blood becomes too high. Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) condition.
If you have diabetes, you’re much more likely to develop peripheral arterial disease (PAD). If you have PAD you have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
The estimation is 1 out of every 3 people who are over the age of 50 and have diabetes will also have PAD.
The problem is many don’t recognize the warning signs, they won’t realize they have PAD which means they don’t seek treatment.
An article published on heart.org mentions that most people mistake leg pain as a normal sign of aging. Also mentioned is that most people who are smokers and are screened for PAD had no idea that smoking was such a huge contributor to their disease. You can click here to read that article.
This is why the staff here at Alabama Vascular & Lymphatic Specialists is so passionate about education.
Diabetes and Peripheral Arterial Disease: How Does Diabetes Lead to PAD?
If diabetes is not controlled, blood sugar levels will be high. High blood sugar can make the artery walls rough. As a result, a waxy substance in the blood called plaque then builds up on the artery walls. This plaque contains cholesterol.
This build up of wax in the arteries makes it harder for blood to flow freely through your arteries. Which in turn limits the blood flow to your arms and legs, which causes damage in the tissues.
Most will find their feet are most at risk of tissue damage. If the tissue damage is very bad, then toes, feet, or even legs may need to be removed (amputated).
Diabetes and Peripheral Arterial Disease: A Change of Lifestyle Can Help
Even though being diabetic is a lifelong chronic disease, good nutrition and exercise can greatly alleviate symptoms. By living a healthy lifestyle you can keep your blood sugar and cholesterol under control.
Additionally, weight loss and medication helps greatly. Proper foot care is also very important for people with PAD.
Here’s a great article from Every Day Healthy to check out, How to Beat Type 2 Diabetes With Diet and Lifestyle Changes.
Diabetes and Peripheral Arterial Disease: Diabetes and PAD, a Bad Combination
When the blood sugar is not controlled well, the walls of the arteries can become damaged and plaque may build up more easily.
This leads to some staggering numbers concerning complications and mortality:
- An estimated 50% of those with diabetes die from cardiovascular events
- More than 71% of diabetics also suffer from hypertension
- Diabetics account for more than 60% of non-traumatic amputations of lower limbs
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, controlling your blood sugar is a top priority.
Also be aware of the related conditions, such as being at high risk for PAD.
Carefully monitor your legs and feet for possible PAD symptoms. If you find it being painful when you walk, especially up the stairs for example, this is something you would want to discuss with your physician right away.
Contact Us for Treatment Options for Peripheral Artery Disease
If you’re from the Birmingham AL or surrounding area we want you to know that we provide the most comprehensive, progressive, and personal care available for Peripheral Artery Disease.
During your visit our specialist(s) will review your medical history and develop a treatment plan to get you on the path to better health.