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Wednesday, 01 March 2023 21:32

Diabetes and PAD are Linked

diabetes padDid you know that according to the CDC, more than 1 in 10 people in the US have diabetes? When people have diabetes, they lack insulin to properly metabolize food into energy. The result is heightened blood glucose levels that negatively impacts the body, including the feet, and increased risks for other conditions. Among these is peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, an often undiagnosed yet serious disease. 

What is PAD?

PAD impacts the peripheral arteries that supplies blood to the extremities, which become narrowed from plaque buildup. This progressive condition eventually leads to less blood flow to the limbs, increasing risks for non-healing ulcers, amputation, and more serious consequences like heart attack and stroke. Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Pain, cramping, or fatigue during activity
  • Skin paleness
  • Decreased hair growth
  • Legs that are cool to the touch
  • Wounds that are slow-healing

Diabetes increases the risk of developing PAD

The link between diabetes and PAD stem from having similar risk factors:

  • Being over 50 years old
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity

Another link is that they both often lead to non-healing wounds or ulcers. For people with diabetes, nerve damage in their extremities, coupled with decreased immune function often lead to wounds that do not heal. For those with PAD, the lack of flow of oxygenated blood can result in developing sores. For many patients who have both diabetes and PAD, it is crucial to stay diligent about their foot health and make changes to their lifestyle. These changes include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Decrease cholesterol 
  • Lose weight 
  • Exercise 

Have regular visits with a podiatrist

A podiatrist who specializes in diabetic foot health and wound care is your best resource for diagnosing and treating both diabetes and PAD. At Foot and Ankle Specialists of Central Ohio, our team of board-certified podiatrists have the experience and skills to assess, diagnose, and manage these conditions. Whether you have had diabetes for years or you just noticed pain while walking, they provide the highest quality care so you can prevent further issues and maintain healthy feet. 

Have questions about your risks for diabetes or PAD? Call (614) 339-2000 and schedule an appointment at any of our offices in the Columbus, Ohio area today!

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