Recently, doctors from The Foot & Ankle Center and Virginia Cardiovascular Services (VCS) teamed up to present educational seminars and raise public awareness about Peripheral Arterial Disease, or PAD. Podiatrist Dr. Mitchell Waskin and Cardiologist Dr. Ashwani Kumar joined Greg McQuade on the CBS6 show, Virginia This Morning, to talk about this common, potentially serious condition that effects 8 to 12 million Americans.
- What is PAD? PAD is basically a clogging of the arteries. It can happen anywhere in the body but particularly in the lower extremities, in the legs. As it decreases blood flow, it can lead to gangrene and amputations. And PAD doesn’t just effect the leg — people who have PAD also are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
- What are some of the symptoms? One typical symptom of PAD is pain in the legs during exertion, such as when walking or going up stairs. Most of the time this pain will go away when you rest. The most common symptoms of PAD are fatigue, difficulty in walking or gait problems. One problem is that PAD often effects older people, who simply blame their symptoms on their age and don’t get medical attention as a result.
- If it’s not addressed, what could happen? Over time, as the disease progresses, it can lead to pain even when at rest. It can also reduce the blood supply to your leg. You could become more prone to developing an infection, and the infection may not heal as quickly as it should because of insufficient blood flow. If blood flow is not restored, it could lead to gangrene, which can lead to amputation.
- What steps can people take to prevent PAD? One risk factor for PAD is genes — you may inherit the condition. But there are other risk factors that you can control. A healthier lifestyle is important. If you do have symptoms, such as tiredness in the calf muscles when you walk just a short distance, you should seek help. Podiatrists and interventional cardiologists are specialists who treat patients with PAD.
- Even at a later age, can people improve their cardiovascular health? Yes. There are risk factors that we should look at. For example, if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you should work with your doctor to control that. And if you smoke, you should quit. Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors that leads to PAD. Being physically active, exercising on a regular basis and keeping your weight under control are lifestyle changes people can make at any age. These can help prevent the development or further progression of PAD.
The Foot & Ankle Center and Virginia Cardiovascular Services provided two free seminars on PAD in Richmond, Va. Both practices provide screenings for PAD. Contact us if you’d like more information, or to make an appointment for a screening.
Please note that your appointment is not final until our scheduling coordinator has contacted you to confirm your appointment. If you need to cancel an appointment, or will be delayed, please call us as soon as possible at 804-320-FOOT (3668).