November is National Diabetes Month. At Lam Vascular & Associates, one way we can stand stronger together, Texas, is by shining a spotlight on this debilitating and prevalent disease.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), more than 30 million Americans have diabetes, which affects health and quality of life. But did you also know diabetes is strongly linked to peripheral artery disease (PAD)? The ADA also estimates that about one out of every three people aged 50+ with diabetes also has PAD. Though many people are aware that diabetes is a major contributing factor to heart attack and stroke, it is less commonly known that the risk of heart attack and stroke are directly related to PAD.
The Diabetes-PAD Connection
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor has likely told you to keep a close eye on your feet. And for good reason! See, many people who have diabetes may also have PAD and not even know it. PAD affects the vascular system, preventing healthy blood flow from reaching your feet, which is necessary for wounds to be able to heal. Because of this, 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:
- Skin problems or discoloration on your legs and feet
- Unexplained leg pain or cramping, especially during exercise or walking
- Leg or foot wounds that are slow to heal
By recognizing and treating diabetic foot complications early, people with diabetes can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. If you notice any of the symptoms above, it’s important to talk to your doctor about PAD.
Check Your Feet
These preventative measures can help you stay on top of your diabetes and spot the early signs of PAD when they first appear:
- Inspect your feet daily for any cuts, blisters or bruises
- Check between your toes and feel your feet for signs of swelling
- Contact your doctor if you find an injury on your feet (even if it’s minor!)
- Keep your toenails trimmed
- Keep your feet away from heat sources
- Wear shoes that are flexible with a wide toe box
- Avoid flip flops, sandals and high heels
Amputation Isn’t Inevitable
If lifestyle modifications and the self-care tips you can do at home are not enough to keep diabetic leg and foot complications at bay, it’s vitally important to see a vascular expert to explore options for properly restoring blood flow to your lower limbs.
A vascular expert like Dr. Russell Lam. He and his experienced team of surgeons 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 experts at Lam Vascular & Associates 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 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.