Diabetes and Circulation
Patients suffering from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus are at an increased risk for a wide array of health complications. Chief among these are vascular and coronary diseases.
Diabetes causes widespread changes in normal blood flow due mostly to atherosclerosis, or the development of fatty plaques in major arteries, and hypertension, or high blood pressure. As a result of this abnormal blood flow, diabetic patients often develop secondary complications due to a disease that affects arteries in other parts of the body, peripheral artery disease (PAD). This has the potential to develop into microangiopathy, which is damage to small blood vessels and capillaries caused by chronically high levels of circulating blood glucose (hyperglycemia).
Diminished eyesight or loss of vision is a possible secondary complication. There are a few disorders, caused by microangiopathy, that can cause this problem. One is retinopathy, a disorder of the soft, light-sensitive inner portion of the eye. Another is non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NA-AION).
Arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (A-AION) is a result of another condition called giant cell arteritis (also known as temporal or cranial arteritis). Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy in diabetes patients is always non-arteritic, although diabetes is not the sole risk factor associated with NA-AION.