Peripheral Edema and Diabetes


If you have diabetes, you may already be aware, from discussions with doctors, pharmacists, and other patients, of the potential for experiencing swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet. This condition is often a result of poor blood circulation, a common complication of diabetes. Damage to small blood vessels, or their leakage into surrounding tissues, can lead to fluid accumulation and swelling. Moreover, impaired circulation may significantly slow wound healing or halt it altogether, with swelling exacerbating these complications. This is why it becomes vital to manage diabetes effectively. Now, let's explore how to address diabetic edema.

Edema and Diabetes

Swelling can be caused by heart disease, problems with blood circulation, liver disease, and kidney disease. Diabetes can make all of these conditions worse. Certain diabetes medications, such as Actos (pioglitazone), are known to induce swelling and may lead to heart complications.

Individuals with congestive heart failure, a condition where the heart struggles to pump effectively, leading to fluid buildup in tissues, should avoid these medications.

Diabetes increases the risk of developing heart disease or experiencing heart failure. Damage to nerves from diabetes may prevent noticing these symptoms. Therefore, informing your healthcare provider about leg or foot swelling is crucial.

Other Edema Causes

Swelling in your legs can occur for various reasons unrelated to diabetes, including:

  • Systemic Conditions: Heart failure, kidney disease, and liver disease can lead to leg swelling due to fluid accumulation resulting from compromised organ function.
  • Vascular and Lymphatic Issues: Chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, and lymphedema are causes related to the circulatory and lymphatic systems.
  • Lifestyle and Environmental Factors: Lack of physical activity, prolonged periods of standing or sitting, high temperatures, and dietary factors like high salt intake contribute to leg swelling.
  • Hormonal and Medication-Related Causes: Pregnancy, menstrual cycles, menopause, the use of birth control pills, and certain medications lead to swelling due to hormonal changes or side effects that affect fluid balance.
  • Injury and Infection: Surgical procedures, injuries such as burns, cellulitis, osteomyelitis, and trauma cause swelling due to the body's inflammatory response to injury or infection.
  • Unilateral Swelling: Conditions like deep vein thrombosis, cellulitis, osteomyelitis, trauma, ruptured Baker's cyst, and lymphatic blockage are potential causes of swelling that might affect only one side.
    Peripheral edema

When to Seek Medical Help

Immediate medical attention is necessary for new swelling in one or both legs. Swelling in just one leg may indicate deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially life-threatening condition. DVT is the chronic development of blood clots in deep veins inside your body.

If you have a loose blood clot, it can easily travel into your lungs. That would cause Pulmonary Embolism, a potentially fatal condition. By looking at its symptoms - chest pain, lack of breath, rapid pulse - you can see that PE is close to a heart attack.

When not treated, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can develop into a chronic condition. As it's known, post-thrombotic syndrome can be a life-long condition that could lead to changes in the skin, the development of ulcers, and other diabetes symptoms that could lower your life quality. 

Pitting edema stages

Simple Steps for Edema Management

  1. Reduce Salt Intake: Too much salt from table salt and processed foods can worsen swelling. Try to eat less salt, especially if you're taking water pills (diuretics), to help reduce swelling. Look up tips on how to eat less salt for more help.
  2. Water Pills (Diuretics): These pills help your kidneys eliminate extra water and salt, which can lessen swelling. Using them carefully is important to avoid side effects like low blood pressure or dizziness. You might urinate more after taking them, but other side effects are uncommon if you follow the dose your doctor prescribed.
  3. Compression Socks: These special socks help prevent and treat leg swelling. They come in different lengths, but knee-high socks with graduated compression usually work well for most people. Make sure they fit right to avoid skin problems. 
  4. Raising Your Legs: Lifting your legs up above your heart for 30 minutes a few times a day can help with swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet. This is especially good for light swelling but might not be enough for severe cases.
  5. Exercise: Staying active is another key way to manage edema. Gentle exercises like walking, swimming, yoga, or cycling help improve circulation and reduce swelling. Regular movement encourages the muscles in your legs to push fluid back towards your heart. Even simple leg movements or stretches can make a big difference if you sit or stand for long periods. Start with activities you enjoy and easily fit into your routine for the best results. Exercise not only helps with edema but also benefits your overall health.

When is the Right Time to Get Compression Socks?

For people with diabetes, leg swelling and redness can be entirely prevented by the right pair of socks. Viasox graduated compression socks give your legs the right balance of pressure and comfort. But when should you get your first pair?

If you're experiencing prediabetes edema, will these socks be able to help you? Yes, they will. You should get a pair of light-compression socks at the first sign of edema to prevent the condition from progressing and spiraling out of control. While having a chat with your physician is advised, you should consider buying compression socks if:

  • You've experienced swelling in your feet for months.
  • You're already at risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis.
  • You're pregnant and have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

When looking for socks for diabetic edema, you should go for a thick, padded pair of socks with no toe seams. A soft band at the top of the sock is also essential because you don't want a strong band that will restrict your blood flow. Moisture-wicking and antimicrobial fabric, as well as the fit and construction of compression socks, are essential. 

Get Your Viasox Pair Today to Ease Foot Swelling!

Diabetic edema can be a severe issue if you don't pay it any attention. Regarding diabetic foot care, you need to take a proactive approach. You must check your feet regularly and look for diabetic macular edema signs.

People with diabetes tend to lose feeling in their feet, which can cause you not to notice that your feet are starting to swell. Fortunately, you can prevent this using compression socks

With Viasox, you can ensure that your feet and calves get the right amount of compression. That will send blood flow directly to your heart and back to your feet.

Here's how to order your first pair of Viasox Compression socks:

  • Find the ideal pair of socks for you.
  • Pick how many pairs of socks you want.
  • Sit back comfortably and wait for your socks to arrive.
  • Get compression socks today and prevent your feet from swelling up ever again!
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    Viasox are the worlds’ first special diabetic socks designed with two things in mind - fashion and practicality. We aim to provide you with high-quality socks that aren’t dowdy and boring like most diabetic socks currently on the market.

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    Our goal is to give everyone the ability to live comfortably by promoting diabetes care, acceptance, and support.