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Diabetes and PAD: A Limb-Threatening Connection You Need to Know About

When you think about November, you probably think about your favorite Thanksgiving dishes (or at least we do!) and ushering in the holiday season! But November is also National Diabetes Awareness Month. At Lam Vascular & Associates, one way we serve our patients is by shining a spotlight on this debilitating disease that affects many Americans.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), more than 34 million Americans have diabetes, which affects health and quality of life. But did you also know diabetes has a strong link to Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?

The ADA estimates that about one out of every three people ages 50+ with diabetes also has PAD. Though many people know that diabetes is a major contributing factor to heart attack and stroke, fewer know that the risk of heart attack and stroke are directly related to PAD.

The Diabetes-PAD Connection

If you have diabetes, you already know the importance of caring for your feet. But maybe you don’t know exactly why. It’s necessary to keep an eye on your feet because of the strong connection between these two conditions, and the potential for limb-threatening complications.

PAD affects the vascular system, preventing healthy blood flow from reaching your feet. And healthy blood flow is necessary for wounds to heal. A sobering statistic; 60% of non-traumatic, lower-limb amputations for people over 20 are in those with diabetes.

If you have both diabetes and PAD, you may experience the following symptoms in your legs and feet:

  • Unexplained leg pain or cramping, especially during exercise or walking
  • Wounds that are slow to heal
  • Skin problems or discoloration

By recognizing and treating diabetic foot complications early, people with diabetes can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Check Your Feet

These preventative measures can help you manage your diabetes and spot any early signs of PAD:

  • Inspect your feet daily for any cuts, blisters or bruises
  • Check between your toes and feel your feet for signs of swelling
  • Keep your toenails trimmed
  • Keep your feet away from heat sources
  • Wear well-fitting shoes that are flexible with a wide toe box
  • Contact your doctor if you find an injury on your feet (even if it’s minor!)

Amputation Isn’t Always Inevitable

If lifestyle modifications and the self-care tips are not enough to keep diabetic leg and foot complications at bay, please see a vascular expert. A vascular doctor experienced in limb salvage can explore options for properly restoring blood flow to your lower limbs. Amputation doesn’t have to be your story!

Allow us to introduce you to Dr. Russell Lam, a Dallas vascular surgeon. He and his experienced team of vascular experts, wound care specialists and medical professionals at The Limb Salvage Center may be your best next step. Here, we specialize in minimally invasive vascular procedures that can help return blood flow to your limbs, possibly preventing amputation.

Texas’ Trusted Vascular Experts

Dr. Lam and his team of vascular surgeons at Lam Vascular & Associates in Dallas specialize in second-opinion evaluations that have saved thousands of limbs of people who were facing amputation. Preventing amputation isn’t just about saving your limb – it’s about saving your life.

At Lam Vascular & Associates, we are dedicated to comprehensive and compassionate care focused on personalized solutions. We work with many primary care physicians to help manage the vascular aspects of their diabetic patients’ care. Schedule an evaluation with one of our award-winning limb salvage experts today.

The information contained in this website is neither intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate or best care for any given health issue, nor is it intended to be used as a substitute for the independent judgment of a physician for any given health issue. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history. Please seek physician's advice. Like any procedure, it may come with benefits, risks or side effects associated. Click here for additional information.

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