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Diabetic Vascular Disease



Diabetic vascular disease occurs when the body’s arteries harden because too much sugar (glucose) builds in the blood, due to either a lack of insulin or because the body cannot use that insulin effectively, a condition known as hyperglycemia.

In most cases the disease targets the smaller arteries located in the eyes, feet, fingers, kidneys, and toes. It is linked to a number of vascular problems.


Patients who have diabetes will experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Hunger
  • Infections unable to heal
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Weight loss

If their diabetes leads to vascular problems, they may experience these additional symptoms:

  • Blurry vision, or floating “spots”
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling of burning, or loss of feeling in hands and/or feet
  • Foamy appearance in urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Leg pain while walking
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling in face or extremities
  • Ulcers or sores on the feet

Risk Factors for Diabetic Vascular Disease

Diabetes is hereditary, although Type 1 usually develops in childhood, while Type 2 occurs more often in overweight adults.

A diabetic patient’s risk of developing vascular disease increases with the following factors:

Vascular disease in people with diabetes is accelerated by the following factors:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Eating a diet high in saturated fat
  • High blood pressure
  • High concentration of fats in the blood
  • Lack of exercise
  • Length of time with diabetes
  • Smoking

Treating Diabetic Vascular Disease

As with most conditions, lifestyle changes such as a low-fat diet, quitting smoking, and exercising to maintain a healthy weight can be the first way to combat the effects of diabetic vascular disease.

Patients can also be treated through a variety of medications to treat specific symptoms.

In more severe cases, patients may need to be treated surgically. Examples of this include surgical treatment of ulcers on the foot or to fix impaired circulation, or laser eye surgery for retinopathy.

Conditions & Treatments



Vascular Institute of New York
960 50th Street
Borough Park

Brooklyn, NY 11219
Phone: 718-438-3800
Fax: 718-438-3131

Office Hours

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