Arteries carry nutrients and blood from the heart to the entire body. This includes the legs and feet. People with poor circulation in the legs, known as Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), have blockage in the artery that deceases this blood flow.
How Common is PAD and Who Does it Affect Most?
Estimates of Americans with PAD are as high as 12 million people. It is also more common in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and people who smoke.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of PAD?
The classic symptom of PAD is claudication which is discomfort in the leg that occurs on walking and is relieved by rest. Cold feet are also a common symptom of decreased blood flow to the feet.
Should You Be Screened?
The American Heart Association suggests the following people at risk for PAD who should be considered for screening: This can be done in just a few minutes at our podiatry office.
- Smokers age 50 or older with diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol.
- People over the age of 70.
- People with symptoms of PAD Symptoms of leg pain suggestive of PAD.
- Absent foot pulses on podiatry exam.
What is the Treatment?
The primary goal of managing Peripheral Artery Disease is the relief of symptoms and prevention of complications. Treatment begins with lifestyle changes and education. Risk factors are addressed such as cholesterol and high blood pressure lowering medicines.
Patients with severe disease, particularly those with severe symptoms, sores that do not heal, or gangrene, usually involves surgery angioplasty. This procedure breaks up the blockage in the artery and restores blood flow.
If you feel that you may have symptoms of PAD, contact the office today. There is a simple, painless test we do in the office that takes just a few minutes. We will keep you on your feet. We are improving lives, one foot at a time!