Leg Pain & Peripheral Arterial Disease
Never heard of PAD? You’re not alone; although, Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a common vascular condition that causes leg pain and leg cramps for many men and women. PAD occurs when the arteries in the lower part of your body become very narrow or blocked due to plaque buildup, resulting in restricted blood flow from your heart to your legs. The most common symptom of PAD is painful muscle cramps in the hip or leg, or pain in the thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs or exercising but the pain goes away when you stop doing the activity. If you, or a loved one, are experiencing any of these symptoms or other unexplained leg pain, then schedule an expert consultation with a vascular specialist who will be able to assess what’s causing your leg pain and determine whether if it’s PAD.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), one in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has Peripheral Arterial Disease. PAD affects 8.5 million people over the age of 40 years in the United States as noted by the American Heart Association Many people are not aware that they have this vascular disease. There are people who experience no symptoms at all. Additionally, there are people who experience PAD symptoms but dismiss the symptoms as part of aging and consider the leg pain initially something minor and nothing to worry about. The reality is that PAD is a major vascular disease that should be diagnosed as quickly as possible so that it can be treated promptly and effectively.
A PAD Patient’s Story: Bill
Many people see a gradual decline in their abilities and quality of life as they age. Bill, a 58-year-old retired machinist from Westminster, Maryland was no different. He tried to stay active; occasionally going on hunting and fishing trips with his Army buddies as they had done since they were young men. Now retired and much older, if Bill had any leg pain while on these trips with his friends, he just chalked up his discomfort to the number of hours he spent on his feet in one day. However, over time, Bill began to notice that he would have sharp leg pain in the calf of his leg during his daily morning walk with his dog.
His wife, Helen, grew increasingly concerned, especially after noticing her husband of 40 years struggling to climb the 8 steps onto their porch one day. Bill’s legs just seemed to not want to work right. He had to rest and then take a few more steps. Neither he, nor his wife knew what was causing Bill’s struggle, but they knew something was wrong. Helen encouraged Bill to call his doctor to schedule an appointment for his leg pain.
Bill’s primary care doctor referred him to Vascular & Cardiothoracic Associates of Maryland (VCTA), where he received an ultrasound diagnostic vascular screening of both of his legs at their on-site, certified vascular lab. The painless, ultrasound screening provided imaging that allowed the VCTA vascular doctors to visually see the inside of the arteries, and it showed that Bill had PAD — he had 2 places in his right leg where his artery was very narrow due to plaque buildup.
The PAD treatment plan for Bill from Dr. Sohalia Ali included some lifestyle changes for Bill, and a minimally-invasive vascular procedure performed by Dr. Ali at Vascular & Cardiothoracic Associates of Maryland’s outpatient center in Westminster, MD. The minimally-invasive procedure cleaned out the plaque in Bill’s arteries and helped to improve the blood flow in his legs. Upon completion of the procedure, Bill rested in the recovery room for a few hours and Helen was able to drive him home the very same day. Within 3 to 5 days,, Bill’s legs were feeling 100% better than they had before the procedure.
Don’t Ignore The Symptoms of PAD
When you’re over 50, it can be easy for many people to dismiss leg cramping or pain as being just a “little bit of arthritis”. However, unexplained and persistent leg pain can be an indication of something much more serious, like PAD.
- Painful cramping in the hip, thigh, or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs (claudication)
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Coldness in the lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side
- Slow or non-healing sores on toes, feet or legs
- Change in the skin color on legs, ankles or feet (red or bluish color, or a significant difference in color of one leg to the other)
- Hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet or legs
- Slower toenail growth
- No pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
- A noise or a bruit in the artery, which could occur due to restricted blood flow
- Erectile dysfunction in men
DON’T DISMISS LEG PAIN – GET AN EXPERT CONSULTATION TODAY!
Patient-focused care is at the center of everything done by the team of board-certified vascular doctors and staff who work at the Vascular & Cardiothoracic Associates of Maryland (VCTA) outpatient center. Conveniently located in Westminster, MD. residents who live in or near Westminster and other towns within Carroll County; Baltimore County; Hanover, PA, and York, PA can easily request a consultation to determine if PAD is a cause of their leg pain. Schedule an expert consultation today!