P.A.D., which can lead to Amputation, Often Goes Undiagnosed
Leg pain may seem harmless and benign, but if this pain is caused by circulation problems, it could lead to serious medical problems such as amputation or even death. During September, which is Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.) Awareness Month, we bring attention to this chronic disease that affects so many in our community.
P.A.D. happens when narrowed arteries, due to plaque buildup, reduces blood flow to the extremities. Anywhere from 12 to 20 percent of individuals over the age of 50 are living with P.A.D. and don’t even know it.
“Because the symptoms of this disease are often ignored or go undiagnosed, we want to educate the public about to look for if they suspect P.A.D.,” said Dr. Demetrios Macris. “Our first and foremost goal at PVA is to prevent unnecessary limb loss.”
Of the 18 million Americans with P.A.D., approximately 160,000 will undergo a limb amputation, resulting in lower quality of life, higher medical costs, and shorter life expectancy. Furthermore, the Amputee Coalition estimates the 60% of vascular-related amputations are preventable.
“Early detection is key to preventing complications especially in diabetics, which we know is an epidemic in our community,” said Dr. Michael Peck. “Being aware of the risk factors and symptoms is imperative to diagnosing and treating the disease in its early stages.”
Individuals over the age of 50 are at greatest risk for P.A.D. if they:
- Have a family history of heart or vascular disease
- Are a smoker – current or past
- Have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels or heart disease
- Have diabetes
- Are overweight, lack exercise and live a sedentary lifestyle.
Symptoms of severe P.A.D. include:
- Painful cramping or aching in the legs when walking that goes away at rest
- Color changes of the skin on the legs/feet
- Wounds or sores on the toes or feet that will not heal.
Vascular surgeons, such as the 20 surgeons at PVA, are the only specialists extensively trained to provide all treatment options for P.A.D. including diagnostic ultrasound testing, medical management, minimally invasive balloon surgeries, stents, traditional surgery, and prosthetic care.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, call 210.237.4444 to make an appointment to see a P.A.D. expert.