Peripheral Arterial Disease in the Diabetic Patient: Tips to Prevent Limb Loss

When you have a disease like diabetes, regular health screenings with a vascular surgeon specializing in Peripheral Arterial Disease, like Dr. David Nabi, are vital. Partnering with a PAD specialist can mean make a world of difference in preventing the loss of limbs. According to the American Heart Association, "People with PAD are at extremely high risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, or stroke. If left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation.”

People with diabetes need to be mindful of the genuine dangers of developing PAD and its devastating consequences. One of the hidden vulnerabilities that many diabetic patients encounter is that they can have no warning symptoms. An asymptomatic person can unknowingly develop PAD.

If a diabetic patient is not aware that they have PAD, it can cause so much blood flow restriction that it can result in critical limb ischemia. Critical limb ischemia is an extreme consequence of PAD. The first root word, "isch/o,” means to hold back. The second root word, "-emia,” refers to a blood condition. It comes from the Greek word "iskhaimos,” which translates to "stopping blood.” Unlike claudication, critical limb ischemia means the leg doesn’t have enough blood flow even at rest. 

As a person with diabetes, you can develop ulcers or non-healing sores due to multiple factors, such as neuropathy or nerve damage resulting in skin damage, increased susceptibility to infections, and a specific variety of PAD that affects the legs and feet. If this has developed, the blood flow to the sores or ulcers may narrow so drastically due to plaque buildup that it can result in tissue death or gangrene. The amputation of affected parts is the only remedy for gangrene.

The good news is there are simple and pain-free screenings that Dr. Nabi uses to determine the health of your limbs and vascular system. If PAD is detected, rest assured that Dr. Nabi has extensive experience in non-invasive procedures that may eliminate plaque buildup and restore blood flow to your peripheral arteries.

Restoring arterial limb circulation is a necessary treatment to avoid the loss of limbs and amputations. However, the best treatment is prevention! The importance of early detection and ongoing monitoring by a skilled vascular surgeon who specializes in PAD, like Dr. David Nabi, cannot be overstated.

Take the next step in your diabetic care by scheduling a PAD assessment with Dr. David Nabi. We only get one life, so protect it today!

PAD and Claudication: What is Claudication and Why Does It Matter

Have you heard the saying, "Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong?" Pain in the legs can have many causes, but one of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed is claudication.

Claudication is the first stage of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Its name comes from the Latin word "claudicare," which means "to limp." As it relates to PAD, claudication describes the pain, achiness, and muscle fatigue experienced primarily in the thighs and calves, which is brought on by physical activity. The pain develops with taking a walk or even a short stroll to the point where normal activities such as walking the dog or climbing stairs become difficult. Claudication pain can be relieved with a quick rest (less than five minutes) when PAD is in its earliest stage. However, when PAD progresses, the pain can become so debilitating that you will no longer be able to take a quick stroll around your block without stopping every few steps. 

The next part of understanding claudication pain, which is caused by exertion, is understanding what such discomfort can mean to your health. With a disease like PAD, there is an accumulation of plaque in your arteries. This buildup is also known as atherosclerosis. If you break down the word "atherosclerosis," you will learn that "ather/o" means "yellow plaque or fatty substance," and "sclerosis" means "hardening." With plaque deposits causing hardening of your leg arteries, this disease process causes a dangerous reduction in the blood flow to your legs—and possibly to your heart, brain, and other vital organs.

The slowing down of circulation in your leg's arterial system is what causes the pain you feel when something as simple as a brief walk around the block or climbing stairs at home. The buildup of plaque will cause the artery to narrow and stiffen, damaging your arteries' ability to deliver more blood to your legs when it's needed.

Unlike pain in the legs due to other sources such as arthritis, back issues, or nerve problems, claudication tends to be relatively constant day to day, though it worsens over time. Unlike later stages of PAD, it occurs only with exertion, not waking you from sleep or affecting you when you aren't moving. 

If you are experiencing pain while trying to enjoy your daily stroll, listen to your body and contact Dr. David Nabi today for a simple and painless screening. A quick visit can prevent devastating problems. It may even save your life!