Eating for two

Eating for two

Diabetic Vascular Disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment Options

Louis Stone

If you have poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, you're susceptible to developing diabetic vascular disease. This is a serious condition that causes your arteries to harden, which can lead to high blood pressure. Hardened arteries can also force blood vessels to grow abnormally in order to cope with the additional strain placed on them. Here's what you need to know about diabetic vascular disease:


The symptoms of diabetic vascular disease can vary depending on which arteries, and the corresponding parts of your body, are affected. General symptoms include lethargy, weight gain and localised pain. When the feet are affected, nerve damage can occur, and this can cause you to experience numbness or a burning sensation. When the eyes are affected, sufferers tend to experience visual disturbances.


Your doctor will use a combination of your health history, description of your symptoms and clinical tests to determine if you have diabetic vascular disease. They will check your blood pressure and measure the fat ratio in your blood. This is an important diagnostic test as your blood tends to contain high levels of fat if your arteries are not functioning as well as would be expected in a healthy person. Additionally, your doctor may want to see images of the blood vessels they suspect are affected by diabetic vascular disease. For example, they can refer you to an ophthalmologist to undergo a fluorescein angiogram test. This test involves dying the blood vessels in your eyes in order to take clear photos of them. Once your doctor has confirmed you have diabetic vascular disease, they will formulate a treatment plan with you.

Treatment Options

Treatment for diabetic vascular disease includes the following approaches:

  • Diet Alteration—Diabetic vascular disease can't be cured by changing your diet, but controlling your blood sugar levels by altering your diet can prevent the condition from worsening. This can be a good option for those in the early stages of this illness, and your doctor can refer you to a diabetic dietician for information and support.
  • Drug Review—Your current diabetes medication should be reviewed to assess its effectiveness and whether there are other drugs that may be better for managing your current health.
  • Bypass Procedure—Your vascular surgeon may recommend this procedure if they're concerned you may develop complications from the narrowing of your arteries, such as blood clots. The aim of the procedure is to improve circulation by creating channels around the narrowed sections that will enable blood to flow freely.
  • Angioplasty—Your surgeon will widen the narrowed sections of your arteries using a small balloon attached to a flexible tube. They may also place a mesh stent into the newly widened sections to prevent them from narrowing again.

If you're concerned you may have diabetic vascular disease, consult your GP or vascular surgeon.


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Eating for two

When you are pregnant it's important not just to eat more than you have been eating previously but also that you are eating the right types of food to make sure that you and the baby stay healthy. Having a healthy diet and not eating the wrong foods can help to keep you feeling comfortable and happy throughout your pregnancy and ensure the best outcomes for you and the baby. This blog has some nutrition advice from parents and health professionals so that you can have a healthy diet throughout you pregnancy journey and includes details on where to get specific advice if you need more help.