You may not think your legs have much to do with your heart, but pain or fatigue in your legs can have the same root cause as problems with your heart and coronary arteries. Just like the arteries in the heart, the arteries that take blood to your legs can get clogged. The same risk factors for developing hardening of the heart arteries -- smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes -- can lead to hardening and narrowing of the arteries that supply the legs. When those pipes slowly clog over time, that can lead to peripheral artery disease, or PAD.
People with PAD may experience the following symptoms:
- Easily fatigued legs
- Inability to exercise due to leg or buttock pain
- Redness or loss of hair in the legs
- Ulcers on the feet or toes
If you have these symptoms, your doctor will examine your legs, feel for the pulses in your legs, and possibly order a test called ABI, or ankle-brachial index. This test measures the blood pressure in your legs at multiple places, and is a non-invasive way of determining if you have PAD.
Many cases of PAD can be treated minimally invasively, without the need for major surgery. If your arteries are clogged, our doctors can place a stent, or metal tube, across the narrowing to prop it open and allow the blood to flow through again. Learn more about angioplasty and stenting here.
Do you have symtoms of PAD?
Trinity Health System is conducting free screenings for PAD at their Heartland event at Fort Steuben Mall this Thursday, February 9, 2017. Learn more here.
If you have PAD, one of our interventional radiologists can help you get back to your normal activities! Call 740-264-8287 to schedule a consultation.