At first, it might make sense that diabetes and venous disease are connected, but are the two really linked? Does one cause the other? Venous disease involves poor circulation and diabetes notoriously can wreak havoc on just about every bodily system, the circulation of blood included. The relationship between the two conditions is complicated.
Blood Circulation and Venous Disease
By definition, venous disease, or venous insufficiency, is difficulty returning blood from the limbs back to the heart. This causes the blood to pool in the veins, which can stretch, distend, and eventually weaken the walls of these blood vessels, leading to varicose veins and other problems.
Blood Circulation and Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition that involves unhealthy changes in your blood chemistry. After all, the hallmark symptom of diabetes is high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Having too much sugar in the blood results from not being able produce or use the hormone insulin. Insulin, in turn, helps the body process and store sugar from the foods we eat.
Diabetes also interferes with the function of nerves, skin, and arteries (the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body). People with uncontrolled diabetes experience swelling of the feet and legs, and foot ulcers are common as well.
How Diabetes and Venous Disease Are Connected
Both of these conditions share risk factors and each can worsen outcomes when they occur at the same time. Here are some common risk factors for diabetes and venous disease:
- Being very overweight or obese
- Being inactive, or not having any physical activity
- Eating an unhealthy diet high in fats and added sugar
- Being pregnant
- Having a family history of diabetes or circulatory problems
There are simple ways to reduce your risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and venous disease. Self-care and lifestyle changes can go far in improving your current and future health, but make sure to talk with your health care provider about any concerns you may have and, in particular, before you embark on any new types of exercise.
- Engage in regular, moderate physical activity or exercise. Walking, swimming, and water aerobics are particularly effective in getting your circulation going with minimal risk of injury. Water exercise helps build leg and calf muscles, and these muscles play an important role in helping your veins push blood back up to your heart. Remember to get the go-ahead from your doctor before taking the plunge.
- Wear compression socks or hose if you will be standing all day.
- If you smoke, quit – join a smoking cessation program today.
- Work with your health care team. Take all medications as prescribed, get your yearly flu shot and other vaccinations as recommended
- Follow up with additional care and appointments as needed. Stay involved with all aspects of you care, because you are your best health care advocate.
- Keep an eye on your foot and leg health. Watch for any signs of discoloration of the skin, swelling, or for enlarged veins. Call your doctor right away to report any changes.
Diabetes and venous disease develop slowly over time but getting prompt medical care can help prevent them from progressing. To find out more about how we treat circulatory problems, contact the specialists at Premier Vein & Vascular today. Call 1-888-VEINCARE or you can use our online appointment request form to schedule a visit. We look forward to seeing you in one of our two convenient locations, in either Tampa or Largo, Florida.