Get Your Legs Back

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The leading cause of death in America is heart disease. The CDC has found that, “Half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking). Heart disease deaths are not just fatal heart attacks or strokes. Heart disease can ravage a body long before it becomes fatal. One type of heart disease is Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD.

According to the Vascular Institute of the Midwest, “Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is caused by arteries to the legs becoming blocked with cholesterol plaque, the same way arteries in the heart become clogged and cause a heart attack.” PAD can also affect other extremities, like your arms.

PAD is often under diagnosed or mistaken for something else. Pain or fatigue in the legs is often attributed to aging, generalized fatigue or back problems. Without a proper screening and left untreated, PAD can progress from pain and fatigue to infections and amputations.

Some symptoms of PAD per the National Institute of Health include:

  • Pain, fatigue, or cramping in the legs or buttocks that is alleviated by rest
  • A change in the skin color of lower legs or feet
  • Persistent or long healing sores on the lower legs and feet
  • Poor nail growth or loss of hair on legs and toes

Dr. Dippel, MD FACC, of the Vascular Institute of the Midwest says, “Varicose veins can be symptomatic. It’s not purely a cosmetic problem like people believe it is. Patients can have heavy, tired legs, fatigue, throbbing, aching that keeps them awake at night.”

It is important to consult with a doctor if any of the above symptoms are present or if there is a family history of heart disease. Too often patients don’t mention symptoms to their doctor because they attribute fatigue and tiredness to aging. Also, many PAD patients have no symptoms at all. PAD is treatable if diagnosed early enough.

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