From an article by
Dr. Eva Rzucidlo
McLeod Vascular Associates
During these COVID-19 times, it’s troubling that patients with lower limb-threatening conditions, such as Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), delay care or go without it altogether.
Vascular disease, such as PAD, is very often the reason for loss of blood flow to the leg and the eventual need for surgical treatment. PAD affects 10 million Americans, and is a warning sign for potential stroke, heart attack or life-threatening aneurysm.
PAD is caused by blocked blood flow in the leg’s arteries, typically affecting people over age 50. Risk increases with smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a history of heart disease.
Leg pain while walking or exercising can be a sign of clogged arteries in other parts of the body. These blocked leg arteries increase the risk for stroke, heart attack or aneurysm. Advanced Peripheral Arterial Disease causes a “heart attack in the legs,” where arteries become so clogged and narrow that blood is prevented from flowing to the limbs.
Prompt intervention by a vascular surgeon can prevent lower limb amputation. By identifying PAD in its earliest stages, lifestyle changes or medications can treat it.
Using an Ankle Brachial Index, which compares blood pressure of the ankle to the arm, is an easy, fast and painless way to screen for PAD. Ideally, the leg pressure should be equal to or greater than the arm pressure within normal blood pressure limits.
Pain or cramping during walking that recedes with rest are the most common symptoms of PAD. Other signs include swelling, numbness, skin discoloration and slow-to-heal sores.
People with poor circulation, or who want to keep their circulation healthy, can use these tips to help keep the blood flowing:
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
Although it is important to understand the risks of COVID-19 exposure, at McLeod Vascular Associates offices, we are safe, open and ready to see you.
Find a Vascular Surgeon near you.