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How does a diabetic know if they have poor circulation in their feet?
There is an increased incidence of peripheral arterial disease in diabetics. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is narrowing or blockage of arteries that results in poor blood flow to your legs. When you walk or exercise, your leg muscles do not get enough blood and you can get painful cramps. Peripheral arterial disease is also called peripheral vascular disease or simply poor circulation.Just like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs mean you are at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Plaque buildup in the legs does not always cause symptoms, so many people can have PAD and not know it. People who do experience symptoms, such as pain or cramping in the legs, often do not report them, believing they are a natural part of aging or due to another cause.
One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 had PAD and it is estimated that over 8 million are undiagnosed. Early detection of PAD has been shown to save limbs and lives, so if you have any of the risk factors you should undergo PAD screening by your podiatrist yearly or more often if symptoms occur.
The exact cause of plaque buildup in the limbs is unknown in most cases. However, there are some conditions and habits that raise your chance of developing poor circulation.
Your risk increases if you:
1. Are over the age of 50.
2. Smoke or used to smoke. Those who smoke or have a history of smoking have up to four times greater risk of P.A.D.
3. Have diabetes. One in every three people over the age of 50 with diabetes is likely to have PAD.
4. Have high blood pressure. Also called hypertension, high blood pressure raises the risk of developing plaque in the arteries.
5. Have high blood cholesterol. Excess cholesterol and fat in your blood contribute to the formation of plaque in the arteries, reducing or blocking blood flow to your heart, brain, or limbs.
6. Have a personal history of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke. If you have heart disease, you have a one in three chance of also having PAD.
7. Are African American. African Americans are more than twice as likely to have
PAD as their white counterparts.
What are the symptoms of PAD?
Most patients with PAD have little or no symptoms until the disease is advanced; that’s why screening exams are so important. Those who do experience symptoms have reported these typical signs and symptoms:
Claudication: fatigue, heaviness, tiredness, cramping in the leg muscles (buttocks, thigh, or calf) that occurs during activity such as walking or climbing stairs. This pain or discomfort goes away once the activity is stopped and during rest.
Rest Pain: pain in their legs at night that often disturbs their sleep
Wounds or sores that heal very slowly or not at all
Color changes to the skin of their feet and lower legs
Cold, pale feet and legs
Decreased hair and nail growth on their feet
How is PAD Diagnosed?
Your podiatrist will start with checking the pulses in your foot and ankle, examining the skin for changes and wounds that are poorly healing. Often an ABI (ankle-brachial index) is evaluated which compares the blood pressure in your arms to your ankles. A Doppler exam may be ordered. This test uses sound waves to measure the blood flow in the veins and arteries in your arms and legs. If any of these exams are abnormal, your podiatrist may refer you to a vascular surgeon to discuss options for treatment.
How is PAD Treated?
The overall goals for treating PAD are to reduce any symptoms, improve quality of life and mobility, and prevent heart attack, stroke, and amputation. There are three main approaches to treating PAD: making lifestyle changes; taking medication; and in some cases, having a special procedure or surgery. Your physicians will determine the best treatment options for you, based on your medical history and the severity of your condition.
How Can I Prevent PAD If I am Diabetic?
The cornerstone of prevention is lifestyle changes.
Exercise is very important and you should aim for 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each and every day.
Stop smoking immediately and ask your doctor for help if you find you cannot.
Keep your cholesterol and blood glucose levels down. Aim for a HgA1C of 6!
Keep your blood pressure in the normal range.
If you are overweight or obese, aim for a normal weight and again, ask your doctor for help! A diet low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol is also helpful.
More than anything, talk to your doctors about a comprehensive treatment plan for your diabetes that also decreases your PAD risks.
One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 had PAD and the incidience is higher in diabetics. Most patients have little or no symptoms until it is too late! Early detection of PAD has been shown to save limbs and lives, so if you have any of the risk factors you should undergo PAD screening by your podiatrist yearly or more often if symptoms occur.
Foot and ankle athletic injuries are very common. We specialize in sports medicine getting you back to sports as soon as possible. The most common foot and ankle sports injuries are plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, peroneal tendonitis, stress fractures, posterior tibial tendonitis, anterior tibial tendonitis, neuromas, tarsal tunnel syndrome, ankle instability, and metatarsalgia. Gait problems can also cause ileotibial band syndrome, patella tendonitis, back pain, hip pain and piriformis syndrome. Medications, injections, splinting, orthotics and/or physical therapy are often quite helpful in treating most injuries. Our doctors will discuss your injury and prescribe a course of treatment that will return you to sport stronger than when you came into the office.
Fall down, go boom? Foot and ankle trauma is extremely common no matter how young or old you are. Fractures, torn ligaments and tendons, sprain and strains, puncture wounds and toenail trauma occurs every day. Our physicians can help put you back together so that you can recover from your accident as fast as possible. Don't wait too long to seek medical advice after your accident or injury. Delaying treatment often only worsens the problem!
Foot pain related to congenital and acquired foot and ankle deformities is extremely prevalent in our society. Pain can be from flat feet or a high arched foot and associated gait problems; or be from a progressive deformity like a bunion or a hammertoe. Our doctors are extensively trained to diagnose and treat the underlying deformity to help you function at your best. We want to prevent your problems from getting worse, no matter what you inherited from your family! God may have had a sense of humor when he created your feet, but we will work with you to optimize your biomechanical function and aesthetics! No one should suffer from ugly, painful feet!
Neurological foot and ankle issues can be a burning or shooting pain, numbness, weakness or just a "pins and needles" sensation. Nerve can be affected by compression at the spine level, knee level, ankle level or in your foot. Neuropathy can be a subtle nerve degeneration from aging, diabetes, and a myriad of other causes. Do not assume your nerve issues will go away or that nothing can be done. A proper diagnosis can lead to alleviation of your nerve troubles.
Healthy Steps Shoe Store and Spa welcomes patients and their families as well as the surrounding communities of Grapevine, Southlake, Colleyville and beyond to help them with their therapeutic shoe gear needs. A certified pedorthotist is always available by appointment for consultation, and safe pedicures by a licensed medical nail technician highlight your spa experience. An extensive array of prefabricated and custom orthotics as well as many foot care essentials are also readily available to compliment your shoe and sandal purchases. We carry a wide variety of comfort shoe gear that are as pretty as they are comfortable.