Peripheral Vascular Disease (PAD)–big words for Arm and Leg Artery Disease and it’s quietly causing a stir. In essence, it refers to the blockage of large arteries outside of the heart or brain. Some 10 million Americans have this condition, but many go undiagnosed.
- Think of it like plumbing.
If your plumbing is blocked, you have some serious issues. But often, you don’t know it until something bad happens.
- It’s dangerous.
In fact, your risk of heart attack or stroke is three to four times higher if you have PAD. If that’s not bad enough, at worst, it could lead to amputation.
- Just because you don’t feel it today, does not mean it’s not there.
Many people have no symptoms, making only 25% of the population seeking treatment.
- Take note of the arms and legs.
Look for unusual symptoms: pain, weakness, numbness or cramping of the muscles, sores or wounds that won’t heal or a noticeable change in color or temperature, diminished hair growth. All of these could be symptoms of poor blood flow. By all means, this is the time to ask your physician about PAD. Have him/her take more tests.
- Smoking is one of the worst culprits.
Tobacco in any form is the single most modifiable cause of PAD, increasing your risk by up to six times. In southern Illinois, we have a six percent higher population of smokers than the national and Illinois average, making us more susceptible.
- Diabetics beware.
If you have diabetes, you are two to four times more at risk to have PAD.
If you are having any of the symptoms above, ask your physician about PAD. Have him/her take more tests.
Prairie Vascular Services is a new comprehensive program for diagnosing, treating and managing the effects of PAD. Our goal is to provide you a better understanding of PAD and help you treat and manage it effectively.
Ask your primary care physician about a referral or learn more at www.sih.net/services/prairie/vascular/.