Along with the many complications that can arise from diabetes, your risk for vein disease can increase as well. It’s important to know how diabetes affects your vascular system and what you can do to help.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that affects how the body uses blood sugar, or glucose, resulting in too much glucose in the blood. Normal levels of glucose are important to our health, as they are a source of energy for the cells that make up the muscles and tissues. But when the glucose levels are too high, this can lead to serious health issues.
Types of diabetes
There are a couple main types of diabetes. Chronic diabetic conditions include:
- Type 1 diabetes – Also called early-onset, insulin-dependent, or juvenile diabetes, young adults and children are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to release insulin, and it’s managed with insulin injections and a healthy diet.
- Type 2 diabetes – Also called late-onset, non-insulin dependent, or maturity-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes usually develops in people over the age of 40 and in those who are overweight or obese. The pancreas still produces insulin, but not enough, or the body’s cells aren’t able to properly use the insulin. This is referred to as insulin resistance.
Diabetes and vein disease
Researchers believe that diabetics are at an increased risk for vein disease due to the negative effect diabetes can have on the body’s tissues. Constant, uncontrolled high blood sugars have detrimental effects on the lining of the body’s arterial walls, making the inside of the blood vessels more likely to narrow (atherosclerosis). In addition, obesity is a risk factor for vein disease, and many people with type 2 diabetes have weight problems and lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Lowering your risk for varicose veins
Just because you are diabetic does not mean you have to suffer from vein disease, as well. There are a few things diabetics can do to prevent varicose veins, including:
- Cut down on salt intake
- Elevate the legs when resting
- Consume a healthy, high-fiber diet
- Avoid clothing or undergarments that are tight or constrict the waist, groin or legs
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Pay attention to any new conditions or changes to your body
- Schedule regular medical examinations
- Take medication as prescribed