September is The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Peripheral Arterial Disease PAD Awareness month, and here at Precision Vascular and Interventional, we agree that it is important to educate our patients on this crippling and costly disease. PAD, in simpler terms, is when the arteries of the legs become clogged from atherosclerotic plaque and clot. It can be as slow as an insidious disease, at first completely silent, but can lead to amputation in later stages. According to the NIH, one in every 20 Americans 50 years and older has P.A.D.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Is On The Rise
Unfortunately due to the rising obesity and diabetic epidemic, the prevalence of PAD is increasing. Studies estimate that there will be 22 million patients with PAD by 2030. Risk factors that attribute to the development of PAD include: advancing age, male sex, African American ethnicity, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. While almost half of patients with PAD may be asymptomatic, 10% to 20% of patients experience leg pain with walking or at rest.
Critical Limb Ischemia: End-Stage PAD
A subset of patients with PAD will advance to terminal stage known as critical limb ischemia (CLI). Within the first year of diagnosis, it is estimated that 30% of patients with CLI will have an amputation, and another 30% will die from cardiovascular events such as a heart attack or stroke. Overall, critical limb ischemia affects more than five million Americans. It is estimated that 1% of Americans over the age of 50 will get critical limb ischemia.
Prevention Is The First Step
Three major risk factors for developing PAD are smoking, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. But these conditions are treatable with medical management and lifestyle modifications. In order to identify PAD in its earlier stages, education and screening are key. Unfortunately, many of the patients Dr. Ashton sees in clinic at Precision VIR have advanced disease and CLI which could have been prevented or delayed with preventative measures and lifestyle modification.
When to See A Doctor
If you think that you may be suffering from PAD, it is never too early to go to your doctor. Do you have calf-muscle discomfort when walking, and is it relieved with rest? Do you have calf-muscle discomfort all the time? Do you have non-healing wounds on your toes or feet? A routine clinical history and physical exam by your doctor could uncover the findings and symptoms of PAD. Your doctor may order diagnostics tests to evaluate the blood flow in your legs.
Peripheral Arterial Disease PAD Awareness Month September
Precision VIR is a Dallas-Fort Worth based vascular specialty clinic that focuses on the revascularization of the arteries in the lower extremity. We utilize image-guided, minimally invasive procedures to remove blockages from arteries in order to restore blood flow to relieve pain, help wounds heal, and prevent amputation. If you think you may have peripheral arterial disease, or you have already been diagnosed and need treatment, book an appointment with Dr. Aaron Ashton at Precision Vascular and Interventional today.