At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, we always encourage our patients not to delay getting lower extremity pain evaluated. One particularly dangerous condition that we are always on the lookout for is peripheral arterial disease or PAD. When arteries in your legs become narrowed or blocked due to plaque buildup circulation is decreased. Decreased blood flow means wounds are slow to heal, and the risk for infection and even, in extreme cases, amputation are increased. If you have PAD, you are also more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. It’s estimated that 8 to 12 million Americans currently suffer from PAD.
Know the Symptoms
The signs of PAD can be subtle at first. Feelings of tiredness or fatigue accompanied by pain when you walk in your legs, thighs, or buttocks are common. When you rest, however, the pain normally subsides. You may also have foot and leg pain that keeps you up nights. Another concerning sign is a wound or ulcer on the skin of your feet that will not heal.
If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment at our Edison (732-204-6630), Monroe (732-204-6802) or Monmouth Junction (732-204-6945) office. Our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral, and Dr. Nrupa Shah can perform a simple, non-invasive test called an ankle-brachial index or ABI. This test compares the blood pressure in your ankles to that in your arm. If your ABI is abnormal, the foot doctor may go on to order other tests to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of your PAD.
Early Detection Helps
If PAD is detected early, your doctor can help slow the progression of the disease and reduce your risk for harmful consequences. Many of the risk factors associated with PAD can be managed by making healthy lifestyle choices. Patients with the following conditions have a greater likelihood of developing PAD:
- Physically inactive
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
A healthy diet that is low in sugar and saturated fats, not smoking and regular exercise can go a long way to reducing your risk of PAD. If you have concerns about this condition and to discuss your risk, contact us.