• Peripheral Arterial Disease

    Peripheral Arterial Disease

    Just as the arteries of the heart can be narrowed by plaque buildup, so can the blood vessels in the arms and legs be blocked to the point of significantly reducing blood flow to the extremities, especially the legs and feet. This condition, called peripheral artery disease (PAD), requires treatment and can also be a warning signal of heart disease. 

  • Heart and Vascular Disease

    P.A.D. Diagnosis

    Early diagnosis and treatment of P.A.D. can help prevent disabling pain in the legs and feet, as well as heart attack and stroke.

    What Causes P.A.D.?

    P.A.D. is caused by a build-up of fatty deposits, or plaque, inside the arteries that carry oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the lower part of the body. When arteries become partly or completely blocked with plaque, atherosclerosis (ATH-ero-skla-RO-sis), or “hardening of the arteries,” occurs.

    What is Cardiovascular Disease?

    Cardiovascular disease refers to a broad range of diseases that cause narrowing of the blood vessels or weaken the artery walls, resulting in disruptions in efficient blood flow. Included under the broad umbrella of cardiovascular disease are coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), renal (kidney) artery disease, heart failure and high blood pressure. While these conditions may affect different parts of the body, they often share the same underlying cause: atherosclerosis (pronounced ath-row-sklee-rosis), or “hardening” of the arteries.

    Five Things You Need to Know About Peripheral Artery Disease

    More than 10 million Americans suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD), and yet many people don't know what it is or how to treat it. If left untreated, the disease that causes PAD (atherosclerosis) can cause serious and even life-threatening complications, including gangrene, heart attack, and stroke.

    Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease

    Like most of us, you’ve probably had your share of aches and pains. Sometimes you can attribute them to a specific event—helping a friend move a heavy piece of furniture or pulling a muscle after bowling for the first time in years. Other times the pain comes on more gradually. You might think it’s just another sign that you’re getting older, As you age, especially if you have other health concerns, such as diabetes, it’s important to tell your doctor about all your aches and pains, especially if you have cramping, fatigue, heaviness, tightness, or weakness in the legs while walking, running, climbing stairs or engaging in other activities. These could be symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD)—a buildup of plaque and blockages in the arteries that restrict the flow of blood to your legs.
  • Treatment and Prevention

    Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

    Diabetes and cardiovascular disease often go hand-in-hand. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than people without diabetes. In fact, about 68 percent of people with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke—one more factor that makes cardiovascular disease the most common cause of death in both men and women.

    Peripheral Artery Disease and Stents

    Stents have been most closely associated with heart disease since they were first used in patients in the 1980s. That's no surprise, since hundreds of thousands of patients a year undergo angioplasty and stenting procedures to unclog blockages in the arteries of the heart.

    Stop Smoking - PAD

    Smoking is the number one risk factor associated with P.A.D. It speeds up the build-up of plaque inside your arteries, causes blood vessels to constrict, or tighten, and contributes to blood clots

    Treatment and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

    Innovations in cardiovascular care are constantly creating effective, less invasive methods for treating and preventing cardiovascular disease. The days when little could be done to combat heart and vascular disease are long over. Whether you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or wish to minimize risk factors you may have, your doctors and other healthcare providers can work with you to identify the best choices for you among a range of treatment and prevention options.

    Walking: Excellent “Medicine” for P.A.D.

    Walking can be excellent “medicine” for reducing leg pain and cramps for many people with P.A.D. Studies have shown that a structured walking program can often work better than medicine or surgery in helping people with P.A.D. walk longer and further without having to stop due to pain.
  • Tests and Diagnostics

    Angiogram

    An angiogram is a diagnostic procedure that provides detailed, x-ray pictures of your heart and its blood vessels. It is performed by a specially trained cardiologist, called an interventional cardiologist.

    Diagnosing peripheral artery disease (PAD)

    To diagnose peripheral artery disease - blockages in the arteries leading to your legs, feet, or arms - your physician may ask you about your medical history, if you have a history of heart disease in your family, and questions that can determine if your lifestyle increases your risk. He or she will also ask about your symptoms, such as pain or heaviness in your legs muscles during exercise. If your doctor suspects you have PAD, he or she will recommend tests to verify the diagnosis.

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)/Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)

    When magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to diagnose problems in the blood vessels, the test is often called a magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA). MRA is a type of imaging; that is, it creates images of the blood vessels so a physician can identify problems.
  • Don Grove – TV Commercial Leads to PAD Diagnosis

    Don Grove remembers a time when walking up a slight incline was nearly impossible due to the excruciating pain it would cause in his calf muscles. His wife recalls the nights they would go square-dancing, and Don had to sit out a dance set due to the pain in his leg. He also had unexplained pain in his toes. Don shrugged off the symptoms as a natural part of aging. Then he learned about PAD and got treated. Read about how his life has changed.

    Milton Unick - Finally Able to Chase After His Grandkids

    For more than 20 years Milton Unick lived with debilitating pain in his legs that prevented him from performing typical daily activities and hindered his quality of life. Little did Milton know the leg pain was a warning sign of something even more serious - a future heart attack. The interventional cardiologist who stopped his heart attack was also able to treat the blocked arteries in his legs. Read his story.

    Ron Robinson - Blockages in the Heart Point to Blockages in the Leg

    For 50-year-old Ron, the classic signs of a heart attack came on quickly. He awoke in the middle of the night with pain on the back of his arms that soon moved to his chest. Ron’s first thought was “anxiety attack.” Fortunately, he realized what was happening and was successfully treated for both the blockage in his coronary arteries causing the heart attack and a blocked artery in his leg. Read Ron’s story.