Health Spotlight: Peripheral Artery Disease

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Do you experience pain or cramps in your legs and feet? These symptoms may be signs of a serious condition called peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD. One in 20 Americans over the age of 50 has PAD, but many do not recognize the symptoms or know of the disease.

Peripheral artery disease occurs when peripheral arteries, most commonly in the legs, have plaque build-up or blockages, restricting blood flow. These blockages keep extremities and organs from receiving oxygen-rich blood. Just like clogged arteries in the heart, blocked arteries in the legs raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes. PAD is a common and treatable condition; however, if left untreated, it can decrease quality of life and lead to amputation.

PAD is caused by the same risk factors that lead to heart disease. Those at risk include anyone over the age of 50, especially African Americans; those who smoke or have smoked; and those who have diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or a personal or family history of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke.

Symptoms of peripheral artery disease include:

  • open ulcer/wound on the bottom of your foot that does not heal
  • pain in the feet or legs that goes away with walking
  • severe cramping in your calf after exercising
  • discoloration of the legs/feet
  • numbness or coldness in legs/feet
  • pale, shiny skin

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Ask your cardiologist if you experience any of these symptoms and think you may be at risk. A few simple and painless tests, such as blood pressure checks and ultrasounds, can check the blood flow in your legs to determine if you may have PAD.

Many people lose limbs each year due to peripheral artery disease, but Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) believes that early diagnosis and treatment can prevent disability and save limbs and lives. CIS has extensive experience in interventional (non-surgical) procedures to save limbs.

CIS is a world-leader in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all forms of vascular disease, including PAD and venous disease in the legs. With more than 900 team members and 20 convenient locations, CIS offers the highest-quality and most advanced care available.

Schedule an appointment with a CIS cardiologist today or find a location nearest you at www.cardio.com.

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