How Physical Therapy Can Help Manage Diabetes and Vascular Conditions

After an injury, surgery, or serious illness, you may expect a referral to physical therapy to help support your recovery efforts. However, the scope of physical therapy goes beyond just helping you get back to your usual activities after an acute health issue. 

Our highly trained team of physical therapists at Sensor Medica Clinic in Idaho Falls, Idaho, also provides therapy for patients seeking help managing chronic health conditions, including diabetes and vascular conditions.

Given that October is National Physical Therapy Month, we wanted to share with you how physical therapy can optimize your health no matter your medical history or fitness level. 

How diabetes and vascular conditions affect health

More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, a chronic health condition in which your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. Though diabetes is a manageable condition, it requires a strong commitment from you to keep your blood sugar levels under control.

Additionally, diabetes increases your risk of developing other serious health issues such as neuropathy, heart disease, retinopathy, kidney disease, and foot damage. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop complications, especially if you have a hard time keeping your blood sugar numbers in check.

Your vascular system supports the movement of blood throughout your body. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart and lungs to your organs and tissues, while veins carry waste and carbon dioxide back to your heart and lungs for removal. Capillaries are tiny vessels that connect arteries and veins to assist in the process.

There are many vascular conditions that may affect the movement of blood throughout your body, including:

Poor blood circulation may affect the health of your organs and tissues, especially in your legs and feet. Diabetes may increase your risk of developing a vascular condition, as too much sugar in your blood damages your blood vessels and affects normal circulation.

Physical therapy and diabetes

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says exercise is one of the most important things you can do to manage your diabetes and prevent health complications. However, strapping on your running shoes and going for a jog may not be for you.

We understand how difficult it can be to figure out what types of exercises work best for you, your health, and your fitness level. We want you to succeed, and our experienced team of physical therapists design exercise programs specific to your health needs and lifestyle.

Diabetes affects circulation and nerve health, which may affect balance and increase your risk of falls. Before we design your exercise plan, we first conduct a fall risk assessment and balance assessment. The information we gather helps us design a plan that improves balance, strength, and flexibility and reduces your risk of injury. 

Physical therapy and vascular conditions

Regular exercise also benefits vascular conditions. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says physical activity strengthens the pumping action of your heart and the movement of blood through your blood vessels. It also widens your capillaries, which improves oxygen delivery and waste removal. 

However, if you have a vascular condition, you may struggle with leg pain or balance issues that could make a walk around your neighborhood nearly impossible. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise. 

When you come in for physical therapy, we conduct an in-depth evaluation that assesses your overall health and functional abilities. This may include a biomechanics assessment, which evaluates how your body moves and helps us design a program that strengthens your weak areas to improve body movement. 

When it comes to managing your diabetes or vascular condition, physical therapy offers many benefits. To schedule a consultation to learn more about our state-of-the-art testing and treatments, contact Sensor Medica Clinic by phone or online today.

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