Approximately 37 million Americans are currently living with diabetes – that’s about one out of every ten people.

Diabetes is a serious condition that affects the way the body processes food, particularly sugar. If diabetes is not managed properly, it can have severe side effects, especially on the vascular system.

The vascular system is the body’s intricate network of arteries, veins and blood vessels. Diabetes can lead to a severe narrowing of blood vessels impacting circulation and resulting in serious complications like PAD (peripheral artery disease) and diabetic foot and leg ulcers.

While CTVS does not treat diabetes (an endocrinologist does that), our team of board-certified vascular surgeons do treat many of the side effects that stem from it.

What are some common vascular complications caused by diabetes?

  1. PAD is a condition that occurs when the vessels carrying blood to the extremities (typically the legs and feet) become narrowed and eventually blocked. This results in poor circulation and can lead to leg numbness or weakness, cramping in the calf, thigh, or buttocks, or coldness in the lower leg or foot, all of which can contribute to non-healing wounds that ifnot managed appropriatley can become infected, and in rare cases, require amputation.
  2. Peripheral neuropathy is when you lose sensation in the feet due to limited circulation. People with diabetes are prone to developing stubborn sores on their feet, and if they have trouble feeling that a sore is there, they are often late to seek treatment and the sore (known as a diabetic foot or leg ulcer) can pose a serious health risk.
  3. Renovascular conditions can develop when blood vessels that supply blood to the kidneys become blocked. As these blood vessels become compromised, it can result in kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment to help the kidney’s function properly.
  4. Heart attacks may occur more frequently in those with diabetes as heart disease is often linked with the condition. High blood pressure and clogged arteries leading to the heart are common contributing factors which are typical side effects of diabetes.

How can you prevent vascular complications from diabetes?


To prevent suffering from severe vascular complications of diabetes, it is important to successfully manage your diet, blood sugar, and glucose levels.

Additional measures to help prevent serious damage to blood vessels from diabetes include: 

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Visiting with a cardiologist routinely to ensure blood pressure and cholesterol levels are in check
  • Exercising regularly – consistent walking can have a significant positive impact on your vascular health and circulation
  • Quitting smoking which can exacerbate diabetic symptoms
  • Supporting good foot health and hygiene by wearing properly-fitting shoes, keeping skin clean and toenails trimmed, and seeking medical care for non-healing foot ulcers in order to prevent amputation

For questions about any of our vascular, cardiac, or thoracic services, please visit or call us at (512) 459-8753 to schedule an appointment.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check our blog for regular updates.