Arterial disease is more common in those who suffer from diabetes and is also another factor in developing chronic ulceration which can ultimately lead to lower limb amputations. It also increases the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
94% of those who have had lower limb amputations have peripheral arterial disease and 48% have diabetes.
Peripheral arterial disease is caused by the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries which causes blockages preventing adequate blood flow to the extremities. Factors such as smoking and high blood pressure can cause peripheral arterial disease.
- Pain/Aching in the back of the calfs whilst walking/exercising which is only relieved by stopping.
- Hair loss on the feet or legs.
- Brittle, slow growing nails.
- Chronic ulceration.
- Numbness in the toes or feet.
- A change in skin colour such as becoming paler or blueish.
Treatment includes medication and treatment along with lifestyle changes. It is very important to stop smoking, eat a healthy diet and begin regular excerise. A small UK study found that walking to work can prevent the risk of diabetes by 40% and cycling to work by 50%.