Peripheral Vascular Disease
Macrovascular disease which causes strokes and heart attacks by affecting the large arteries that go to the heart and brain respectively, may also affect the arteries that supply blood to the feet. When the circulation to the feet is impaired the condition is called peripheral vascular disease(PVD). Claudication, or experiencing a cramping pain in the leg while walking, may be the first sign of PVD. People with Diabetes are about 30 times more likely to have impaired circulation to their feet. If they get an injury that does not properly heal, the area on the foot may become severely infected, not respond to antibiotics, and leave the person with the choice of accepting non-traumatic amputation or dying. Microvascular disease (small blood vessels) which affects the eyes and kidneys may also affect the nerves to the hands and feet, a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Their feet may become numb, leaving the person with Diabetes vulnerable to injuries from tight fitting shoes. Because they will not feel pain, these injuries may become very severe before the person is aware of their occurrence. The neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease leave the feet very vulnerable. People with Diabetes are taught how to care for their feet to try to prevent this occurrence.