People who have diabetes are more at risk of getting vascular disease because their blood sugar levels have spent prolonged periods of time being poorly controlled and higher than normal. In turn, this affects the lining of the body’s arterial walls, making the inside of the blood vessels more likely to fur-up causing them to narrow (atherosclerosis).
People with type 2 diabetes are also more likely to have elevated triglyceride levels and low HDL cholesterol, which also increases the risk of atherosclerosis.
What is Diabetes
There are two kinds:
Type 1 diabetes (also known as early onset, adolescent, or insulin-dependent diabetes). Children and young adults are most likely to develop the disease over a short period of time (days and weeks). Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops releasing insulin. It is treated with insulin injections and a healthy diet.
Type 2 diabetes (also known as late-onset, mature, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes). It’s most likely to develop in people over the age of 40 (but it can happen in younger people). It is more likely to affect those who are obese or overweight. The disease and symptoms of type 2 diabetes tend to develop gradually (over weeks or months). Unlike type 1 diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, but it may not produce as much as the body needs or the body’s cells cannot use the insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance.
I have diabetes How can I prevent the risk of other complications like vascular disease?
In general, the closer your blood sugar level is to normal, the less risk you risk complications. Your risk of developing complications is also reduced by addressing other “risk factors” you may have, such as:
high blood pressure
to be overweight
too unhealthy diet
Hence, you may want to do the following:
Eat a healthy diet and control your blood sugar levels
Lose weight if you are overweight
If you smoke make it a habit
Keep track of your blood pressure
Be aware of new conditions or changes in your body
Get regular medical examinations at least once a year
Take your medication as directed by your doctor
What is a diabetic foot ulcer?
Diabetic foot ulcers affect many people with diabetes. It is believed that 1 in 10 people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer at some point. The ulcers are patches of broken skin, usually on the lower part of the leg or feet, that become infected. Wounds on the legs and feet are less likely to heal in diabetics. This is partly due to damage to the nerves caused by fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Why are people with diabetes more likely to get foot ulcers?
People with diabetes may have decreased nerve function due to peripheral diabetic neuropathy. This happens when the nerves that carry pain or sensation to and from the feet are not working well. So stepping on something sharp, wearing tight shoes, or getting a cut can go unnoticed and lead to diabetic foot ulcers. Narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis) can also reduce blood flow to the feet.
Effects of Severe Foot Ulcers
In the worst case scenario, some people with diabetes may need to have an ulcer amputation. Less severe foot ulcers can take a long time to heal and cause a lot of discomfort.
How to prevent diabetic foot ulcers
Taking good care of your feet is critical to preventing diabetic foot ulcers. It is recommended that people with diabetes have their feet checked by a doctor or health professional at least once a year.