Diabetes rates are on the rise, and aside from the initial effects of the condition, those with the disease need to be concerned about lesser-known complications that develop over time. High blood sugar levels begin to have an impact on the vessels of the circulatory system, which lead to issues like venous insufficiency, and ultimately problems like amputations. What is the relationship between diabetes and circulation, and how do complications like amputation arise?

Diabetes in the Body

Most cases of diabetes are Type II, or considered to be “adult-onset,” as a result of diet and lifestyle choices. Typically the body produces insulin to manage blood sugar levels, but when the pancreas is unable to keep up with demand, or when the insulin produced doesn’t work effectively, a collection of symptoms and complications indicate the development of the disease.

Diabetes and Circulation

High blood sugar levels readily cause damage in the body, and one of the first systems to experience strain is the circulatory system. The metabolic abnormalities associated with diabetes cause changes to the function and structure of the blood vessels, including hardening in both large and small vessels. Large vessel damage contributes to complications like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, and complications in the smaller vessels include damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves, especially in the feet.

Diabetes and Diabetic Wounds

Because high blood sugar levels can damage nerve endings in the peripheral nervous system, patients can experience decreased sensitivity in the feet. This might lead to lesser awareness of foot placement and an increased risk of injuries that might not even be felt. Sustained sores are called “diabetic wounds,” because veinous insufficiency causes decreased circulation to the tissues in the feet, and means slow and compromised healing with a high risk of infection.

Diabetes and Amputation

One of the more severe complications that diabetics are at risk for is amputation, especially of the feet. In fact, more than 80% of foot amputations in the US today develop from ulcers on feet. When veinous insufficiency results in wounds that won’t heal, it can result in severe tissue and bone damage that may require surgical removal. It is incredibly important to maintain proper foot care, but also to address challenges with circulation with prompt treatment.

Has Diabetes Contributed to Concerns about Vein Health?

If you’re experiencing complications like decreased sensitivity, numbness or tingling in the feet, or if you notice signs of decreased circulation in the lower legs, it’s essential for you to manage the conditions sooner than later. The professionals at Atlanta Medical Clinic are dedicated to the health and wellbeing of our patients, and are able to offer comprehensive care including vein treatments. Contact us today to schedule a visit and to have all of your questions answered about your next steps toward healing.