Diabetes can lead to a variety of symptoms throughout the body. From kidney and heart problems to foot complications, the disease is severe and needs to be adequately treated. We’re going to dig a little deeper to discover more about wound risk, management, and what causes the wound susceptibility in diabetic patients.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
PAD is caused by fatty deposits, known as plaque, built up in the arteries of the legs of a diabetic patient. These fat deposits cause the arteries to become hardened and narrowed, reducing blood flow to the feet and calves. In more severe cases, this can occur in the arteries around the heart. The cardiovascular disease creates a much higher risk of death by heart attack or stroke. PAD affecting the legs and feet can require amputation in some cases.
Some of the most common symptoms of PAD include:
- Swelling of the legs and feet
- Pain or tiredness in your legs and feet made worse by walking
- Severe foot pain
- Wounds and ulcers on the feet or toes that take over 8-12 weeks to heal
Peripheral Neuropathy is another common symptom of diabetes, often occurring before PAD. Peripheral Neuropathy itself does not cause wounds or ulcers in diabetic patients, but it is a precursor to PAD and other things that do have the potential to cause sores or ulcers. By detecting peripheral neuropathy early, PAD can be better managed and prevented. Peripheral Neuropathy is the damage of peripheral nerves or the nerves that run to your extremities. In severe cases, patients can begin to struggle using or to move the affected areas of their body. Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy. Decreased feeling in your feet could lead to unnoticed cuts or wounds, so be sure to inspect your feet each day if you know that your suffering. Any injury or reduction should be examined by a physician immediately, do not try to treat it at home.
The most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Pain in fingertips or toes
- Abnormal or sudden changes in sensation
Any of these changes should be taken very seriously and immediately reported to your physician. It’s estimated that 7 million individuals are suffering from diabetes and they don’t know it. Peripheral neuropathy is often the first sign of the disease, but it goes unreported and unnoticed in many cases.