HealthNotes: Blog Edition

September is National PAD Month

September 6, 2017

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is caused by fatty buildup in the inner walls of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Plaque in the artery wall reduces blood flow to the muscles. Left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation of limbs. If the blockage occurs in a carotid artery, it can cause stroke. Most patients with PAD have a higher risk of death from heart attack and stroke.

Symptoms of PAD – In its early stages, common symptoms include cramping, fatigue, heaviness and pain or discomfort in the legs and buttocks during activity. Common sites for PAD (see graphic) are in the lower torso (iliac artery), in the groin (femoral artery), at the knee (popiteal artery), and at the shin and calf (tibial arteries).

Treating PAD – Most people with PAD can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications or both.

Lifestyle changes to reduce risk of PAD include:

  • Quit smoking (smokers are 4 times more likely to get PAD)
  • Control your diabetes
  • Exercise
  • Eat a diet low in saturated and trans fats

If you are experiencing lower leg pain or leg cramping, talk with your healthcare provider or contact Rochester Vascular Surgeons to schedule a consultation.

Source: American Heart Association

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