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 for diabetic vascular disease includes the following approaches:
If you're concerned you may have diabetic vascular disease, consult your GP or vascular surgeon.
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