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By drjenniferz@clevelandfootdoctors.com
September 03, 2013
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September is PAD Awareness.  PAD also referred to as peripheral artery or arterial disease is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs.

When peripheral artery disease (PAD) develops in the extremities - usually the legs - do not receive enough blood flow to keep up with the demand. This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking (intermittent claudication).

Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to the heart and brain, as well as the legs.               

Symptoms:
While many people with peripheral artery disease have mild or no symptoms, some people have leg pain when walking (intermittent claudication).  Intermittent claudication symptoms include muscle pain or cramping in the legs or arms that's triggered by activity, such as walking, but   disappears after a few minutes of rest. The location of the pain depends on the location of the clogged or narrowed artery. Calf pain is the most common location.

The severity of intermittent claudication varies widely, from mild discomfort to debilitating pain. Severe intermittent claudication can make it hard to walk or do other types of physical activity.

Other symptoms include:
-Leg numbness or weakness
-Coldness in the lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side
-Sores on your toes, feet or legs that won't heal
-A change in the color of the  legs
-Hair loss or slower hair growth on the feet and legs
-Slower growth of toenails
-Shiny skin on the legs
-No pulse or a weak pulse in the legs or feet
-Erectile dysfunction in men
-If peripheral artery disease progresses, pain may even occur when at rest or when lying down (ischemic rest pain). It may be intense enough to disrupt sleep. Hanging your legs over the edge of the bed or walking around your room may temporarily relieve the pain.

When to see a doctor
If you have leg pain, numbness or other symptoms, don't dismiss them as a normal part of aging. Call your doctor and make an appointment.  Your doctor can perform a simple study within the office, non-invasive arterial studies of the lower extremity. 

Even if you don't have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, you may need to be screened if you are:
-Over age 70
-Over age 50 and have a history of diabetes or smoking
-Under age 50, but have diabetes and other peripheral artery disease risk factors, such as obesity or high blood pressure

Please give 1 of Our Offices a call, if you or someone you know is experiencing the above conditions.  We are here to help!

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