Diabetic Vascular Disease: Know Your Treatment Options

Are you living with diabetes? That means you face additional health challenges, including an increased risk for diabetic vascular disease. Over time, elevated blood sugar — a characteristic of diabetes — can damage your blood vessels and change your blood chemistry, which causes narrowing of your blood vessels. Diabetic vascular disease increases your risk for stroke, heart attack, and nonhealing wounds in your legs and feet. 

Here at Precision Vascular, our team of expert vascular and interventional radiologists routinely care for men and women with diabetic vascular disease in the Arlington, Dallas, Mesquite, and McKinney, Texas, areas. We can help you get your diabetes under control, and we can prescribe effective treatments for vascular conditions tailored to your individual needs. If you have diabetes, here’s what you should know about diabetic vascular disease and the available treatment options.

How diabetic vascular disease affects your legs and feet

Diabetic vascular disease can occur anywhere in your body, hardening arteries and blocking blood flow to your heart, brain, and extremities. The longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk of developing vascular problems. When vein blockages from being diabetic affect your legs and feet, you typically experience bothersome symptoms, including:

If you also have high blood pressure, you’re overweight, or you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you increase your risk for diabetic vascular disease or worsen the condition if you already have symptoms. Diabetic vascular disease may also affect arteries that lead to your eyes and kidneys, which can lead to retinal damage and kidney disease, respectively. 

When diabetic vascular disease affects your feet, and you lose feeling, you may not even realize you have a foot sore or an infection. Left untreated, these problems can lead to tissue death, or gangrene, and amputation of the affected toes or foot, which is why it’s so important to seek treatment early on.

Treatment options for diabetic vascular disease

We tailor your comprehensive treatment plan to your individual health needs for a whole-person approach to helping you manage your diabetes and diabetic vascular disease. Treatment may include taking steps to get your diabetes under control, such as losing weight, exercising more, and eating healthier foods. Our vascular physicians may also prescribe medications to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. 

Beyond more conservative treatment measures, our vascular specialists may recommend minimally invasive surgical procedures to help restore circulation to your legs and feet, including angioplasty and stent placement. 

Angioplasty

Angioplasty is a procedure in which your doctor makes a small incision in which to thread a catheter into a blocked artery. This allows them to remove the blockage and improve blood flow in the area. To accomplish this, your doctor inserts a tiny balloon through the catheter into the clogged artery to open the artery and improve circulation. 

Stent placement

Sometimes, in addition to angioplasty, you may need a stent implanted in the blocked artery. A stent is a tiny wire mesh cylinder that helps keep your artery open so blood can flow freely after the angioplasty clears the blockage. 

It’s extremely important not to ignore the symptoms of diabetic vascular disease. If you have foot pain, swelling, or sores that won’t heal, don’t wait to seek medical intervention. As a diabetic, your vein health is crucial to your overall health and quality of life. 

Contact the Precision Vascular office closest to you by phone, or request an appointment online. It’s your first step toward improving your vascular health.

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