South Florida Vascular Associates South Florida Vascular Associates

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Could Leg Pain Be a Sign Of Something Serious?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) often goes undetected. But being aware of the warning signs can help you spot PAD early on and get prompt treatment to protect your health.

Peripheral Artery Disease is caused by a thickening of the inside walls of the arteries of your legs. This thickening, called atherosclerosis, usually occurs when a person has high levels of cholesterol, a fat-like substance in the blood. Cholesterol and fat, circulating in the blood, build up on the walls of the arteries and plaque formations can grow large enough to significantly reduce the blood's flow through an artery narrowing the space where the blood can flow and decreases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the legs and feet. It can affect both legs, but most often symptoms begin in one leg.

Dr. William Julien explains more about PAD in the video below.

It’s important to know the signs of PAD, such as leg pain or heaviness and it is most important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor right away so that you can get be evaluated and begin treatment immediately to reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.    
Warning Signs of PAD:   
  •    Pain that occurs when you walk and goes away when you stand still. It is important to understand that pain from PAD differs from other conditions because of how and when it occurs. Blockages in the leg can be so severe that blood is not getting to the muscles, and when muscles don't get enough blood, they get painful. This type of leg pain is called intermittent claudication and is one of the main symptoms of PAD. Leg pain can also be an indicator of back or spinal conditions. If your pain stops when you stand still after walking, chances are it’s related to PAD.
 •    Cold feet. A blockage or reduced blood flow to the lower leg muscles can make feet feel noticeably and abnormally cold. You may find that the leg with the blockage feels colder than your other leg.
 •    Discoloration in the legs or feet. Without blood flowing properly through the leg, your foot and toes may become discolored. A common PAD symptom is a foot that appears unusually pale or has a blue tint due to lack of blood flow.
 •    Persistent sores on the feet. If you have wounds on the bottom of your feet that take a long time to heal, this can also be could be a sign of PAD. When blood flow is blocked from reaching an area wounds won’t improve as quickly as they did prior to the blockage or don’t heal at all, making you more prone to foot infections. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms please take answer the questions in our survey to see if you are at risk and contact our office immediately to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians for proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


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