Updated 01 February 2017

Diabetes and gangrene linked to peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral arterial disease is more likely to affect diabetics and can lead to strokes and gangrene.


Peripheral arterial disease caused by atherosclerosis is more likely to affect diabetics.

This condition impairs the circulation in arteries, most notably, the ones leading to the brain, legs and feet.

This often happens during the normal ageing process, but diabetes compound this process.

Read: What is diabetes?

The nerve damage that this condition causes can also lead to impotence.

This condition can lead to strokes and injuries that do not heal and in a worst case scenario, to gangrene, which might necessitate amputation. Much can be done to prevent these, footcare being top of the list. Small cuts and blisters, or Plantar’s warts and ingrown toenails can lead to a minor infections, followed by a bacterial invasion.

Read: Symptoms of diabetes 

Nerve loss can also make you unaware of developing sores, deep ulcers, or slightly infected cuts. Severe sores that don’t heal can become gangrenous and lead to amputations. Those with diabetes should take extra care to buy well-fitting shoes, and not to neglect any cuts or blisters. It is preferable to have toenails cut by a professional.

When tingling sensations, or burning and pain is felt in the lower legs and feet, it is a good idea to see your doctor. Nerve loss can also make you unaware of developing sores or slightly infected cuts. Severe sores that don’t heal can become gangrenous and lead to amputations> 

Read more:

Diabetic foot care 

Foot care for diabetics 

Minor foot wounds a major threat for diabetics 


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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