People suffering from diabetes are prone to various foot conditions. The two main conditions that are responsible for foot problems are Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) and Peripheral Neuropathy (PN). We will look at PVD in this article
People who have diabetes are prone to various foot conditions. The two main conditions that are responsible for foot problems are Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) and Peripheral Neuropathy (PN). We will look at PVD in this article
It is a disorder of blood circulation that leads to narrowing of blood vessels outside of your heart and brain. As the blood vessels become narrow, the blood flow to the body parts decreases. According to research, PVD is 20 times more prevalent in people with diabetes than in non-diabetic people. In diabetic people, prolonged high blood sugar level raises the risk of developing PVD. Longstanding high blood sugar can damage blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to the foot. This poor circulation can weaken the skin, contribute to the formation of ulcers, and impair wound healing. Other risk factors that may cause PVD are smoking, obesity, inactivity and high cholesterol levels.
One of the first symptoms of the PVD is cramping leg pain during walking. Most commonly, this affects your calf muscles. However, it can occur in the thigh or hip muscles too. Some also experience pain the toes, while sleeping.
As the disease progresses, leg or feet pain occurs even when you are not walking. Changes in the skin, including decreased skin temperature, or thin, brittle, shiny skin on the legs and feet, hair loss on the legs are noticed. Weakness or heaviness in the limbs or thickened and discoloured nails are observed more often.
Another symptom of PVD is that the small cuts or abrasions on the feet, especially on the pressure points that do not heal quickly.
PVD can eventually become a severe problem if not treated timely. It can lead to the development of foot ulcers and gangrene and may require amputation of the leg.
Diagnostic tests can include:
Treatment and management of PVD may include:
For some people with severe vascular disease, invasive treatment such as balloon angioplasty or stent insertion may be considered. Bypass graft would also be an option.
Complications most often occur because of decreased or absent blood flow. Such complications may include:
To prevent PVD, take steps to manage the risk factors. A prevention program for PVD may include: