Most people know that people with Diabetes are prone to foot and leg problems. But do you know why? What causes both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes to damage the blood vessels and nerves in the feet?
There are two key conditions that cause these issues:
#1 Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). PAD causes atherosclerotic plaques to narrow the arteries outside of the heart and brain. You’ve probably heard of this as “hardening of the arteries”. People with Diabetes are at a higher risk for developing PAD. The hardening of the arteries causes decreased oxygen to the lower legs and feet. If it is not addressed, the lack of oxygen can result in ulcers and even gangrene which is the death of the tissue.
#2 Peripheral neuropathy. This is damage to the peripheral nerves that is a direct effect of diabetes. The patient can experience decreased sensation to the legs and feet. Peripheral Neuropathy can cause a tingling feeling and can make it difficult to even know if they’ve sustained an injury. Muscles in the feet and calves can become stressed, and even misaligned, if they are not used properly.
When someone is ill from one or both of these disorders, they can suffer from a number of different kinds of foot difficulties, such as bunions, corns, calluses, fungal infections and toe problems.
In Part 2 of our blog, we will give you information on how to prevent and treat these conditions.
Stay Informed. Stay Healthy!