HOUMA- More than 20 million Americans suffer from a condition called peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD. This is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs, leading to potential blockages in the legs.
September is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month. For 37 years, Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) has remained committed to the early diagnosis and treatment of PAD to save limbs and lives. CIS urges our communities to learn more about this dangerous disease—the risk factors, the symptoms and the treatment options—to allow early detection and improve PAD outcomes. Statistics show that approximately 60% of the amputation procedures performed in the United States could be prevented. With proper diagnosis and treatment, most patients can manage the symptoms of PAD and avoid amputation or heart attacks.
Peripheral artery disease is caused by plaque build-up or blockages in the legs. Just like clogged arteries in the heart, blocked arteries in the legs keep the organs from receiving oxygen-rich blood, which raises the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, and can ultimately lead to amputation. Symptoms of PAD in the legs include: pain or cramping after activity, numbness, coldness, sores or ulcers that won’t heal, discoloration, hair loss, shiny skin or a weak pulse. Those over the age of 50 are most at risk, as well as smokers, who have three to five times more of a chance to develop PAD. Other risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and a family history of vascular disease, heart attack or stroke.
If you think you may have PAD, a painless ultrasound or imaging test can show the blood flow in your legs to determine your risk. Schedule an appointment with a CIS cardiologist below or click here to learn more about PAD.