Your children are constantly warning you about the dangers of a cut or sore on your feet. As a diabetic patient, you know that these minor injuries can turn life-threatening overnight—but lately, you’re more concerned about aches and pains in your feet and legs. Could this just be a side-effect of aging, or is it something more serious?
What Can Happen If I Develop Peripheral Artery Disease?
Diabetes sufferers are at risk of many types of circulation problems, including peripheral artery disease (PAD). This condition narrows the arteries, restricting the blood flow to the muscles throughout the body. While the effects of PAD are commonly first noticed in the legs and feet, it affects blood flow throughout the body, causing increased symptoms the longer the condition progresses.
Patients with PAD may experience one or more of the following:
- Aches, pain, or discomfort in the feet, calf, or thigh muscles, especially during exercise
- Pale skin on the legs and feet
- Feet or legs that are numb when at rest
- Cramping in the leg muscles after climbing stairs or walking short distances
- Numbness or weakness in the legs
- One foot that feels colder than the other
- Color changes (usually blue or dark) in the feet or legs
- Loss of hair on the legs or slower nail growth on the feet
- Shiny or thinner skin on the legs
- Weak pulse in the legs or feet
- Open sores on the lower extremities that won't heal
- Impotence or erectile dysfunction
- Foot pain or leg cramps at night
- Severe pain in the feet that prevents you from wearing socks or shoes
While symptoms may be irritating at first, they can turn deadly if not treated. Patients who suffer an infection in the lower extremities may be unable to heal and may require amputation of the limb. As arteries continue to shrink, fat deposits may build up and block off arteries throughout the body, leading PAD patients to suffer strokes or heart attacks.
Full-Body Treatment Can Reverse the Effects of PAD
At Sierra Foot & Ankle, we realize that treatment for diabetes is a full-body problem. Rather than merely treat your foot symptoms, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Victoria Melhuish uses a variety of methods to treat your PAD from the inside out. In our vascular testing lab, we can diagnose the extent of your circulation problems and identify areas of blockage, reducing your risk of sudden attacks.
Once we have identified the problem, our team will devise a whole-health solution that will work with your limitations and lifestyle. Our on-site Family Nurse Practitioner can advise you on diet and activity methods to ease your symptoms, including providing assistance in smoking cessation (a major contributor to fatality in PAD patients). Best of all, our schedule allows us to see many patients same-day, getting you the help you need as quickly as possible.
Call Sierra Foot & Ankle at 888-608-8406 to stop the progression of peripheral artery disease today, or fill out our online appointment request form and a staff member will contact you to confirm. Our offices are conveniently located in Carson City and Gardnerville, NV.
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