People with diabetes are at risk for multiple medical complications. Peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD, is a disease that people with diabetes have a higher incidence of. It is a potentially life-threatening disease where plaque, like calcium, builds up along blood vessel walls, narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow to the legs and feet.
After an amputation, nearly half (47%) of people with diabetes who have a PAD-related amputation die within two years.12 Also, people with PAD have an increased risk of death from coronary heart disease compared to people without PAD.27
People with diabetes may have health complications that could make their PAD worse, such as neuropathy or nerve damage, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. People with PAD and diabetes also might have an impaired ability to properly use their feet and legs, preventing them from walking as far or as fast as people with PAD who don’t have diabetes.19
There is good news: There are many treatment options for PAD, even if you also have diabetes. Awareness and education in combination with early detection and treatment could help relieve your symptoms and help stop PAD from getting worse.
Sometimes preventing leg pain and/or amputations is a matter of restoring blood flow. For example, a health care professional may recommend revascularization, a treatment that has shown it can help save the toes, feet and legs of many patients with PAD. Revascularization can effectively be performed as a minimally invasive procedure, called endovascular surgery.
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about PAD and discuss your symptoms now. Education about PAD and proper foot care are particularly important for people with diabetes. You can find a PAD specialist near you using our Find a Doctor tool.
Keep in mind that not all doctors are PAD specialists – and not all PAD specialists use the most modern treatment techniques – so it is important to ask for a second opinion, especially if a doctor has suggested that you need an amputation because of PAD. So don’t wait. Download and complete our PAD checklist and discuss your symptoms with a health care professional.