PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease) causes a build-up of plaque on the walls of blood vessels and it often affects those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes because diabetes negatively impacts the lining around cells in blood vessels, which makes them less flexible and less capable of moving the blood flow smoothly. As a result, people who have diabetes are at a higher risk of developing PAD which is, ultimately, a disease of the arteries. Moreover, PAD can also cause CVD (cardiovascular disease) such as stroke or heart attack. There are new treatments for PAD that should be a consideration when dealing with these symptoms.
PAD can also be the cause of diabetic peripheral neuropathy because it leads to early vascular disease by reducing blood flow in arteries (atherosclerosis). The difference between peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease is that the former affects the arteries and the latter affects the nervous system. Diabetic arteriopathy and neuropathy are associated with: hyper-coagubility, endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, muscle cell dysfunction and sores that do not heal and can develop into gangrene (dead tissue) that can lead to amputation of limbs. Similarly, PAD is associated with non-healing ulcers and leg amputation.
Some studies even show that diabetes and PAD are closely associated because the former causes increased levels of inflammatory white blood cells (WGBSs) that lead to plaque build-up which, ultimately, is the cause of PAD. As a result, diabetics are required to undergo PAD screening every seven years. PAD can be diagnosed by means of the ABPI test (the ankle brachial pressure index test).
Symptoms of PAD include: loss of hair on the legs, numbness in the limbs, foot sores that do not heal and a burning sensation in feet or toes. Treatment for blocked arteries in lower limbs includes angioplasty which is a surgical procedure meant to open blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the legs. Angioplasty is, usually, performed along with stent placement.