In Focus: Venous Ulcer & Diabetes
Serious Problems: Serious Symptoms
There’s no two ways about it: type 2 diabetes is a killer. What makes this chronic issue particularly galling is that there’s no outright cure for it. Characterized by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin (the hormone involved in breaking down sugar to fuel the body), it’s very common. According to the American Diabetes Association, no less than 30.3 million Americans have developed diabetes. 
And among its many symptoms and associated problems, venous ulcer, the development of non-healing wounds in the legs or feet, is among the most common. In fact, approximately 15 percent of diabetes sufferers develop these ulcers, usually in the feet.  It’s therefore important to take a closer look at how these conditions are related.
Characteristics of Venous Ulcer
Before looking at what links diabetes and venous ulcer, it’s important to get a sense of what the latter is. The condition often arises from venous insufficiency, which is when blood is unable to properly circulate. As a result, there ends up being increased pressure on veins in the legs and feet, which can combine with other factors to cause the nonhealing lesions that characterize venous ulcer. 
And how does it present? Here’s a quick breakdown of the principal signs:
- Tired, swollen, and painful legs.
- Pain in the site of ulcer.
- Discoloration and smoothness of the skin.
- Inability for the lesion to heal up and infection.
It’s absolutely essential that you seek out treatment if you suspect you have venous ulcers.
Diabetes & Venous Ulcers
So how does diabetes factor in? Basically, this disease has a wide range of effects on the skin, nerves, and arteries. Among them is a build-up of glucose in the blood due to the diabetic’s inability to process sugars, leading to numbness in the extremities. In these cases, the body becomes less able to detect, take on, and heal injuries. More advanced cases of diabetes will start to restrict blood flow to the legs, damaging nerves and causing more serious problems.
Now, diabetes doesn’t necessarily cause venous ulcer, but, since it affects healthy blood circulation, the presence of the former will increase symptoms of the latter.  Cases like this will be more likely to present with things like pain and leg swelling. The two together form a very dangerous combination, with amputation becoming necessary in advanced, untreated cases.
What Can You Do to Prevent Diabetic Ulcers?
Clearly these conditions are related, but the question is: what can you do about them? As it stands now, there’s no cure for diabetes, only methods of managing the condition, so prevention is key. And many of the strategies to prevent one actually apply to both. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Eat Healthy Foods: Healthier foods that are high in fiber and lower in calories and fat will help promote circulation and vein health. It’s worth talking to a nutritionist about a diet plan.
- Exercise: There’s numerous benefits to ensuring you’re getting proper physical exercise, and this will help prevent diabetes and leg ulcer. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day; this might be taking walks, using a treadmill, swimming laps, or cycling.
- Try To Lose Weight: It isn’t easy, but the most surefire way to prevent diabetes and leg ulcers is to reduce your weight. For the former, studies have shown that as little as a seven percent reduction in pounds vastly reduces chances of developing the condition.
- Wear Compression Stockings: If you’ve developed venous ulcers, your doctor will recommend you wear specialized compression stockings to promote positive blood flow.
- Be Mindful of Your Health: If you suspect you have venous ulcers and/or diabetes, keep an extra eye on the health of your skin and legs. Wounds need to be carefully observed and dressed as necessary. Never hesitate to call the doctor if anything seems off.
Of course, a range of treatment approaches exist for venous ulcers, and doctors can help you healthily manage diabetes. The sooner you’re able to gain treatment, the better off you’ll be.
The Right Step Forward
Blood circulation problems are not to be taken lightly; whether affecting your legs and feet or other aspects of your health, these issues need to be taken seriously. Not only is there discomfort and pain to contend with, but, as noted above, issues like this can progress and do serious damage. The clock is ticking. Every day spent not taking on these health conditions is one in which they get worse. Luckily, with appropriate and timely medical help, these can be taken of.
If you suffer with venous ulcer or any other circulation problem, the team at Hamilton Vein Center can help. The experts at these Texas-based outpatient clinics employ the latest and best in minimally-invasive approaches to provide dedicated, personalized treatment for a wide range of conditions. Find out more by calling their Houston office (281) 916-5660, Austin’s location at (512) 710-1114, or San Antonio at (210) 405-4707 today!
- “Statistics About Diabetes”. 2018. American Diabetes Association. Accessed November 1 2018. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/.
- “Prevention And Treatment Of Leg And Foot Ulcers In Diabetes Mellitus”. 2018. Com. Accessed November 1 2018. http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/endocrinology/prevention-treatment-diabetic-leg-and-foot-ulcers/.