September is Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Month
September is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month!
PAD is a chronic circulatory condition, which if left untreated can result in unnecessary limb amputations. Unfortunately, PAD is a condition that is relatively unknown among the general public, which is why an awareness effort is so essential. Every year, PAD affects nearly 20 million Americans, and an estimated 200,000 of them suffer avoidable amputations. Here are the need to knows about PAD:
What is PAD?
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) in the legs or lower extremities is the narrowing or blockage of the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs. It is primarily caused by the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries. PAD is a serious condition. If you have PAD, you are at risk for developing coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Risk factors for PAD are smoking, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, diabetes, high cholesterol, and being above the age of 60. Both men and woman are equally affected by PAD. However, African Americans have a greater risk of PAD.
The classic symptom of PAD is pain in the legs with physical activity, such as walking, that gets better after rest. Symptoms of pain, aches, or cramps with walking can happen in the buttock, hip, thigh, or calf. However, some patients with PAD, up to 4 in 10 experience no leg pain.
Treatments can vary
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PAD, treatments can be varied depending on the severity. Treatment of severe leg pain due to peripheral artery disease (PAD) may include a referral to perform an arterial vascular intervention.
To treat PAD, MTV IR specialists first perform a diagnostic angiogram to get a closer look at the arteries. The procedure involves placing a catheter into the artery at the groin or wrist, and then injecting a special dye and analyzing the results via X-ray. Once the problem areas have been identified, MTV IR doctors work with the referring physicians to develop a treatment plan. Treatment often continues with a therapeutic angiogram, which may involve angioplasty (expanding the narrowed artery by inflating a tiny balloon) or placing a stent to hold the artery open. Other procedures include drug-coated balloon angioplasty, drug-coated stent placement, or atherectomy (to remove plaque buildups that have become calcified and do not respond well to angioplasty or medication).
Now that you have a better awareness of PAD, turn that awareness into action. If you are experiencing leg pain during physical activity, see your local provider. And if you have been diagnosed with PAD, ask your physician about treatment with MTV IR.