At CTVS, we frequently treat the many complications stemming from PAD. This PAD Awareness Month, we’re sharing some important things to know about the condition.
What is PAD?
PAD is a vascular condition that occurs when blood vessels supplying blood to the lower extremities (usually the feet and legs) become severely narrowed or blocked. Blockage is typically due to a build-up of plaque in the arteries or poor circulation caused by other issues such as diabetes. This poor circulation in the extremities can cause tissue to become damaged or dead, leading to a potential risk for amputation in extreme cases.
Common symptoms of PAD include chronic leg or foot pain/cramping, fatigue in the legs or thighs, and non-healing foot or leg ulcers.
Who is at risk for PAD?
People who are most prone to developing PAD are those who have:
- High cholesterol or high blood pressure
- Atherosclerosis (the hardening or narrowing of arteries)
- End stage renal disease (or kidney failure)
If PAD symptoms are not sufficiently managed, especially foot and leg ulcers, there is the potential for serious consequences like amputation. At CTVS, our team of board-certified vascular surgeons will do everything possible to prevent amputation in these cases.
Signs that indicate you may have PAD and should see a vascular specialist include:
- Difficulty or pain when walking
- A change in how your feet or legs feel, perhaps they are cool to the touch or become numb easily
- A change in how your feet or legs look, skin becomes shiny, blue or blackened, you develop wounds or ulcers that will not heal, or experience sharp and acute pain
Ways in which our CTVS specialists help to effectively treat PAD symptoms include:
- Working with your regular healthcare provider to develop a healthy lifestyle plan which may include eating well, exercising regularly (like walking), managing prescription medications, and smoking cessation initiatives
- Minimally invasive procedures to restore blood flow to the extremities
- Surgical revascularization, such as limb bypass surgery and endarterectomy (removing part of the inner lining of a blocked artery), when minimally invasive procedures are not successful
- Foot and leg wound care, in conjunction with your podiatrist and other wound care specialists, to promote wound healing and preserve tissue
- Limb preservation measures in order to avoid amputation except for in the most extreme and life-threatening situations