What Happens if You Ignore Diabetic Foot Pain?

What Happens if You Ignore Diabetic Foot Pain?

For those diagnosed with diabetes, much attention is given to preventing the serious health consequences associated with this increasingly common disease. 

Common complications related to diabetes are peripheral neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease (PAD), the symptoms of which often start in your lower legs and feet.

Our team at Premier Vascular, led by peripheral vascular specialist and wound care expert Dr. Nirav Patel, is happy to provide information about the health effects of peripheral neuropathy and PAD and the damage that diabetic foot pain might signal.

Understanding peripheral neuropathy related to diabetes

Your nervous system contains trillions of nerves that transmit messages and instructions regarding sensation and movement to and from your brain to the rest of your body. Nerves also help your brain control autonomic (automatic) reflexes like heart rate and respiration.

The peripheral nervous system includes all the nerves that exist outside of your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

Often related to poorly controlled diabetes, peripheral nerve damage (neuropathy) occurs when persistently high blood sugar levels compromise the health of the blood vessels that supply oxygen and other nutrients to your nerves.

Elevated blood sugar levels also trigger chemical changes within the nerves that interfere with their ability to communicate accurately with your brain regarding sensation and other tasks your peripheral nerves manage.

Peripheral arterial disease and diabetes

PAD damages the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your legs and feet. Diabetes and its effects on your circulatory health is one of the factors that significantly increase your risk of developing PAD.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and PAD

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, which tend to occur first in the thread-like nerves in your feet and toes, include:

Advancing peripheral neuropathy also causes varying degrees of numbness that can eventually interfere with your ability to sense temperature changes or pain related to your feet.

You may, for instance, develop an ulceration or open sore on the sole of your foot and not realize it until spreading infection causes other complications such as swelling, drainage from the wound, and fever.

Symptoms of PAD include:

Avoiding the consequences of peripheral neuropathy and PAD

Health complications associated with peripheral neuropathy or PAD include:

Seeing a specialist at the first sign of foot pain or scheduling an evaluation regarding your circulatory health before you develop symptoms provides Dr. Patel the opportunity to recommend early treatment for PAD or peripheral neuropathy.

Treatments are designed to stall the progression of and possibly eliminate the consequences of these diseases. Diabetic foot ulcers and other wounds related to diabetes also require Dr. Patel’s expertise as a wound care specialist to prevent worsening infection and potential limb amputation.

For more information about services we offer for diabetic foot pain and other vascular conditions, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Patel at Premier Vascular today.

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