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Healtheuniversity > English > Diabetes College > Treat Diabetes > Health Problems with Diabetes > Legs


What Can Happen?

Arteries carry blood from your heart to your legs. Arteries that carry blood to your limbs are called 'peripheral' arteries. When peripheral arteries are narrow from plaque, it is called peripheral artery disease. This disease lowers the blood flow to your legs.

Low blood flow to your legs can be painful. Low blood flow can also lead to severe problems such as pain. Pain in your legs from low blood flow is called intermittent claudication. If you have intermittent claudication, it feels like cramping in your legs when you move.

Because of the low blood flow, your legs are at risk for ulcers and infections. Ulcers and infections can lead to the need for amputation (the removal of your toes, feet or lower leg by surgery). 

What Can I Do?

Signs of Peripheral Artery Disease

You feel a cramp or pain in your legs when you're walking. This feeling goes away when you stop walking. If you feel this then take action.

  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Talk to your exercise team. They can create an exercise plan for you. There are other ways to get your exercise (such as cycling or swimming).
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Last Reviewed: 10/16/2016