OverviewDiabetic Vascular Disease primarily involves the arteries. From the name itself, the condition is definitely secondary to diabetes which is a known metabolic condition associated with a persistent elevation of the blood sugar level. The increased levels of glucose in the blood can affect the consistency of the blood thus altering its flow through the arteries. This promotes the existence of small blocks in the arteries thus causing the latter to harden and be unable to perform their usual functions.
There are actually various types of Diabetic Vascular diseases and these can occur in different areas of the body. One specific type is neuropathy which primarily affects the nerves especially those in the periphery. This causes eventual sensation loss in the limbs. Another type is nephropathy which primarily affects the kidneys. The hardening of arteries that supplies blood to the kidneys can cause fatal damage to the filtering organs of the body. The last type is known as retinopathy which primarily causes damage to the retina of the eye. Retina is very crucial in forming images seen by the eye. It is a highly sensitive inner layer that assists in the initiation of nerve responses for vision.
The symptoms of Diabetic Vascular Disease actually depends upon its specific type, whether it is neuropathy, nephropathy or retinopathy. Like what has been previously stated, neuropathy involves loss of sensation in the limbs. It is also associated with the development of sores in the limbs together with persistent tingling sensation on both hands and feet. For nephropathy, symptoms include change in urine color and consistency. The urine specifically looks foamy. Weight gain associated with retention of fluid due to inability of the kidneys to function properly is also noted. Lastly, for retinopathy, symptoms include blurred vision and existence of floaters or unwanted spots in your view. General symptoms include pain in affected areas and even increased blood pressure.
The primary risk factor for this vascular disease condition is obviously diabetes. The longer you have the metabolic disease, the greater risk you have for acquiring Diabetic Vascular Disease. Aside from these, if you have hypertension and you are known to be overweight, you can also have a greater risk for the said disease condition.
DiagnosisIn general, patient history and physical examination may be required by the physician to rule out the existence of Diabetic Vascular Disease. For neuropathy, treadmill test, ankle brachial index or ABI may be required. For nephropathy, urine test is the initial requirement for diagnosis. Albumin, a specific type of protein, will be tested in your urine. When it is found out that there is significant kidney damage, biopsy may be required to determine the extent of the problem. Lastly, for retinopathy, fluorescein angiogram may be required. This procedure involves the use of a contrast dye to clearly visualize the blood vessels in the eyes. Ophthalmoscopy may also be required.
Proper management of diabetes is one of the main treatment methods for Diabetic Vascular Disease. This includes the use of insulin as advised by the physician and most importantly, regulation of food intake or diet. For those with persistent high blood pressure, antihypertensive drugs may be necessary as indicated by the physician.
For those with neuropathy with foot sores, antibiotic and skin medications may be necessary. Laser surgery is highly recommended for those with retinal damage secondary to retinopathy. For severe conditions, angioplasty or the mechanical technique of widening the arteries may be used.