Diabetes is a life-changing disease that can threaten your health in many ways, besides what it does to your blood-sugar regulation. You may already know that it can affect your vision and even lead to kidney damage or liver disease. But you may not know that diabetes can also increase your risk for peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, which can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
How Diabetes Increases the Risk of PAD
Diabetes impacts your body’s ability to control blood sugar levels, and that unregulated sugar can damage many parts of your body. In particular, higher blood sugar can make the walls of your arteries rough, which makes it easier for plaque to attach to the arterial walls and build up there.
PAD is similar to coronary artery disease, except it affects the arteries that control blood flow to the arms, legs, belly and other parts of the body, not to the heart. When plaque builds up in the arteries, blood is not able to flow easily to those parts of the body, which can cause serious side effects that could even lead to amputation of the limbs.
How PAD Could Affect You
You need proper blood circulation to keep all parts of your body healthy. If you are not getting good circulation to your arms or legs because of PAD, you could suffer serious pain. Your chronic pain might just lower your quality of life, or it could actually limit your mobility. The reduced circulation can also mean that wounds take longer to heal, which can lead to serious infection. You can even develop gangrene, which can require the amputation of a foot or leg.
It is important that you control your diabetes and your PAD in order to protect your quality of life and your overall health.
Treatment of PAD
The best treatment of PAD is the prevention of PAD. If you have diabetes, you need to take your medication and follow diet recommendations to keep blood sugar levels under control and help prevent plaque from forming in your arteries.
If you do get PAD, you can get treatment to restore healthy blood flow to your arms and legs (though PAD often impacts the lower body the most). Some treatments involve inserting a balloon into the artery and blowing it up to open the passage. Others involve putting a stent in the artery to permanently hold it open and allow for unimpeded circulation.
Laser treatment can also be used to clear plaque from the artery. In severe cases, a bypass may be performed to route the blood around the blocked artery.
Coastal Vascular Center performs all of these treatments and aims to provide solutions using the least invasive option available. We aim to restore arterial health so that you can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as other side effects that can reduce your quality of life. Call us today at 713-999-6056 or email us www.coastalvascular.net to speak with one of our specialists and learn about your treatment options.