November is Diabetes Awareness Month and is a great time to shine a spotlight on the tens of millions of Americans affected by the disease. That’s nearly 1 in 11 people!
Despite how prevalent diabetes is, it is an invisible disease – and it affects women and men, young and old, people of all races, shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, those with diabetes are also at risk for other health concerns, including vascular diseases. Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, is one of those concerns.
Diabetes & PAD
PAD occurs when blood vessels in the legs are narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits and blood flow to the feet and legs decreases. If you have PAD, you have an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. An estimated 1 out of every 3 people with diabetes over the age of 50 have this condition. However, many of those with warning signs and symptoms don’t realize that they have PAD and therefore they don’t get treatment.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With PAD?
Put simply, if you have diabetes, you’re much more likely to have PAD, a heart attack, or a stroke. But you can decrease your chances of experiencing those problems by taking special care of your blood vessels.
How do I Know Whether I’m at Risk for PAD?
Just having diabetes puts you at risk to an extent, but your risk is increased if you:
- Have high blood pressure
- Have abnormal blood cholesterol levelsIf you are overweight
- Are not physically active
- Are over the age of 50
- Have a family history of heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes
You can’t change your age or your family history, but taking care of your diabetes and the conditions that come with it can definitely lower your chances of developing PAD.
What are the Warning Signs of PAD?
The problem is, many people with diabetes and PAD do not exhibit any symptoms. Some people may experience mild leg pain or trouble walking and believe that it’s just a sign of getting older. Others may have the following symptoms:
- Leg pain, particularly during walking or exercising, which disappears after a few minutes of rest
- Numbness, tingling, or coldness in the lower legs or feet
- Sores or infections on your feet or legs that heal slowly or will not heal
If you are a diabetic and you think you may have PAD, see Dr. Lam, your trusted vascular disease specialist, right away. Click here to book an appointment!
The information contained in this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history and are not guaranteed in any way.