At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we find that patients may not accurately understand the seriousness of decreased circulation to the lower extremities. The medical condition known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) describes a situation where plaque (fatty deposits or cholesterol) have adhered to the walls of the arteries that lead to your legs and feet causing partial or total blockage. This restricts the blood flow to the lower half of your body. PAD is often associated with diabetes and a significant cause of some of the more serious complications of the disease. When oxygen and nutrient rich blood cannot get to your legs and feet in significant quantities, it makes it difficult to heal wounds and ulcers. This can lead to infection and, in extreme cases, amputation.
Recognize the Symptoms
There is a variety of symptoms of PAD that you may observe or experience. These include:
- Pain or cramping in your feet, legs, thighs or buttocks
- Feeling of coldness in your legs
- Hair loss on your toes and legs
- Bluish or reddish tinge to the skin on your feet or under the toenails
- Thickening and discoloration of your toenails
- Ulcers or wounds on your feet that have not healed after 8-12 weeks
If you notice any of these signs, you should contact our Long Beach office for an appointment by calling: (562) 420-9800. Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley or Dr. Constance Ornelas will want to examine your feet. There are a number of simple, non-invasive tests the foot doctor can perform to see if your symptoms point to PAD.
Reducing Your Risk
In addition to diabetes, PAD is also more common in patients who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease or who have suffered a stroke. You are also at a higher risk for developing PAD if you are over the age of 50 or have a family history of PAD, heart disease or stroke. The good news, however, is that some risk factors for PAD are within your control to control. These include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
Making healthy lifestyle choices now and partnering with your podiatrist to monitor your foot health can help you prevent PAD or slow its progression. If you have additional questions about PAD, contact us.