Diabetes and Vascular Disease

Diabetes and vascular disease go hand in hand. Plaque formation, caused by diabetes, can often lead to obstruction or blockages in the arteries. The complications from vascular disease span to the lower extremities and can often be severe.

Some of the complications of vascular disease caused by diabetes include the following:

  • Claudication pain is a vascular symptom caused by diabetes that develops when the blood flow to the lower extremities is diminished. People with claudication experience cramping and pain in their calves after walking a certain distance.
  • Ischemic rest pain is a more severe symptom and often presents as a burning sensation in the foot, especially while sleeping or resting at night. Typically this symptom is relieved when a person sits up and hangs their legs and feet over the side of the bed. This is a result of gravity being able to draw the blood down through the narrow arteries which is prevented when the legs are raised in sleep.
  • Gangrene of the lower extremities is a limb threatening finding and can be a life threatening concern in advanced vascular disease. This is a complication exacerbated by diabetics that have a history of smoking. Gangrene of the lower extremities can often lead to amputation.

It is important to note that vascular disease is the leading cause of death in the diabetic community. These deaths can result from heart attack or stroke but also from complications in the lower extremities. Below the knee amputation has the potential risk of a 65% mortality rate within three to five years, and an above the knee amputation has the potential of an 80 to 85% mortality rate in three to five years.

At Ocean County Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates, we have comprehensive services available to treat our diabetic patients’ healthcare needs. This includes, Ocean County Diagnostics, our IAC accredited (Intersocietal Accreditation Commission) vascular laboratory located in our office locations. Here we can conduct thorough vascular testing of the lower extremities to diagnose any potential blockages that may lead to vascular complications. Additionally, we work closely with a number of vascular specialists including vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists, and interventional cardiologists, to treat vascular disease.

If you are diabetic, call us today so that we can set up a full examination of your lower extremities to assess your condition and help prevent future complications. If you or someone you know are a diabetic and think that you or they may be suffering from vascular complications, take the first step and contact one of our convenient locations to get an expert evaluation.