Primer on PAD
Primer on PAD
Have you experienced any of the following…
- Fatigue/tiredness/pain in your legs that appear when you walk but diminish at rest
- Toe/foot/leg pain that disturbs your sleep
- Open wounds/sores on your toes/feet/legs that are slow to heal?
If you have, chances are you may be one of the approximately 10 million Americans afflicted with PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease).
Some common risk factors for PAD include the following:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
When arteries that supply your heart or brain become blocked, a heart attack or stroke may develop. PAD develops in a similar fashion…your arteries become clogged with plaque (fatty deposits) that limit blood flow to your legs, preventing the delivery of oxygen-rich blood necessary for function and survival. There is a simple, direct correlation: if you have clogged arteries in your legs, you are at risk for having a heart attack or stroke! (in fact, PAD raises your risk 2-6 times for developing a heart attack or stroke)
So how can PAD be detected?
A lot of diseases manifest themselves in the foot. Our podiatrists at Advanced Foot and Ankle Care can order (and perform on site) a simple test to determine if you have PAD. The test is called an ABI, or ankle-brachial index. It compares the blood pressure in your ankles with the blood pressure in your arm. This non-invasive test can be performed at any of our Advanced Foot and Ankle Care locations, including our office in Troy, Ohio in approximately 15-20 minutes during a regular office visit, obviating a need to travel elsewhere to have this test performed.
Oftentimes, PAD can be treated with:
- Smoking cessation
- Blood pressure control
- Lowering cholesterol
- Managing high blood sugar (diabetes)
- Medications to prevent clotting
- Healthy diet
Furthermore, if your ABI is abnormal, timely referrals to cardiovascular specialists (i.e. vascular surgeons) may be warranted to further determine the extent of your PAD.
Please do not ignore leg pain! It is important to discuss any foot, leg or thigh pain that you are having with any of our Advanced Foot and Ankle Care providers, since it could be a warning sign of a serious disease such as PAD. Early detection of PAD can offer an opportunity to treat risk factors that can slow the progression of the disease and potentially decrease your chances of a heart attack or stroke.