DVT: A Concern for Diabetics
Diabetics are no strangers to leg pain. While not all diabetics experience problems with their extremities, neuropathies are a serious concern that many diabetics face. Neuropathy is a type of nerve disorder that causes tingling in the feet and legs that can become more painful overtime. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may feel similar to neuropathy at first, but the conditions are actually very different. Unfortunately, diabetics are also at an increased risk for DVT, which makes awareness about both of these conditions essential for diabetes management.
One recent study found that having diabetes may increase a patient’s likelihood of experiencing recurrent deep vein thrombosis. This makes it especially important for diabetic patients to take the proper precautions to avoid DVT.
The Connection between Diabetes and Vein Disease
It is hard to determine what causes the link between diabetes and DVT. The increased development of blood clots in type 1 diabetes patients could be attributed to changes in insulin and blood sugar levels. However, for type 2 diabetics the relationship is slightly different. While the changes in insulin and blood sugar levels are still concerns for type 2 diabetics, there are lifestyle factors that often contribute to both diseases.
Type 2 diabetes develops as a result of a high-sugar diet and a lack of physical activity, and being sedentary is also a contributing factor for DVT. This could account for the high co-morbidity between the two conditions. Other factors also have to be considered in the relationship between DVT and diabetes as well. For example, patients with diabetes are more likely to enter the hospital for care or undergo surgical procedures than are those who are healthier, and blood clots are a risk associated with many surgical procedures.
In addition, women and those under the age of 50 are more likely to experience blood clots in conjunction with diabetes.
What can diabetics do to prevent DVT and blood clots?
If you are diabetic, then be aware of your increased risk for DVT and consider any leg pain carefully. Ignoring the warning signs of a blood clot can be dangerous, especially as the symptoms linger. These warning signs include swelling and pain in the ankle, leg or foot along with feelings of warmth or changes in skin color.
Here are a few precautions diabetics can take to reduce their risk of DVT:
- Diabetes puts you at an increased risk for injuring your feet, and recovering from these types of injuries involves a lot of rest. Don’t let an injury leave you motionless. Simply changing your position every so often and moving as much as possible can enhance blood circulation and prevent DVT.
- Whether you are traveling, at work or home on the couch, make sure you are moving around as much as possible. Instead of sitting for an entire flight, get up and walk down the aisle. If you are in the car for an extended drive, stop and walk around when you are getting gas.
Don’t let DVT take you by surprise. Talk with your vein specialist Dr. Perry about your diabetes and any concerns that you have about your own vein health.