Diabetes patients over time may experience foot nerve damage due to excess sugar in their blood vessels. Nerve damage to the feet or poor blood flow increases the risk of health complications. Cuts and blisters that aren’t felt can grow into serious infections. Toe, foot and even leg amputation is possible due to infection.
Poor foot circulation or nerve damage is often felt at the tips of the toes and symptoms include:
These symptoms gradually spread up the leg and patients can eventually lose all feeling in their limbs.
Diagnosing diabetic vascular conditions starts with a thorough medical history and physical exam of the feet and legs, especially if there are sores or wounds. It may also include:
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- Laboratory tests for complete blood cell count, blood sugar levels, kidney function, blood chemistry, liver enzymes and heart enzymes if infection exists
- X-rays of feet or legs
- Ultrasound to examine blood flow
- Angiogram, a catheter and dye injected procedure to view the blood flow and detect blockages and circulation problems