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According to the American Heart Association, eight and a half million Americans suffer from Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Left untreated, this chronic circulatory condition can lead to amputations, and more than 160,000 people in the U.S. lose a limb each year because of it.
Dr. Mario Rossbach, a vascular surgeon who practices at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – New Braunfels, explores PAD and how to combat it.
What is PAD?
Peripheral Artery Disease, also known as Peripheral Vascular Disease, occurs when fatty deposits build up in arteries outside the heart (including the arms, legs, and feet) and limits the supply of oxygen and blood to those limbs.
What happens if PAD is left untreated?
Without adequate blood flow, vital organs, legs, arms and feet, and your brain, suffer damage. Left untreated, the tissue can become infected or die.
What are some symptoms of PAD?
- Leg, calf, or buttock pain that doesn’t go away
- Foot or toe wounds that take too long to heal
- A limb, such as a leg or arm, that is cooler to the touch than the rest of the body
- Erectile dysfunction
- Dead tissue (Gangrene)
What are some common risk factors for PAD?
- Advanced age
- A personal/family history of cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Factors you can control include:
- Cessation of smoking
- Management of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol
- Management of weight, obesity
What kind of tools do you use to diagnose PAD?
- Blood tests are most common, as well as a treadmill stress test
- Ultrasound (Arterial Doppler) and other imaging to map the arteries
How do you manage PAD?
Develop a heart-healthy lifestyle, including diet and moderate exercise, and manage the stresses in your life.
How do you treat PAD?
- Possible arterectomy, bypass surgeries (in more acute cases)
Early diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease leads to early treatments, and that means a healthier you! If you’ve got questions about your arterial or cardiovascular health, consider taking our free heart risk assessment. For more information, go to www.christussantarosa.org/heartcare.