Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), also known as claudication, poor circulation, vascular disease, or hardening of arteries, is a chronic, life-threatening circulatory condition.
This chronic clinical condition affects nearly 20 million Americans and an estimated 200,000 patients suffer from amputations every year. PAD disproportionately affects minorities.
The primary cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries. PAD causes narrowing or blockage of the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs. If PAD is not treated, blockages may continue to grow and restrict, or even completely block, blood flow. Left untreated, PAD complications could result in amputation of an affected limb. PAD patients are also at greater risk for heart attack and stroke
“By increasing PAD awareness in our MetroHealth community, we hope to reduce avoidable amputations every year,” says vascular surgeon and PAD expert James Persky, MD. “We hope to provide enhanced access to our services and treatments because we want to be part of the solution to improve patient’s quality of life, reduce care costs and prevent limb loss.”
Generally speaking, vascular surgery has changed the treatment paradigm for vascular disease, relying more on minimally invasive procedures (balloon angioplasty & stenting) than open bypasses. This approach lessens the surgical trauma to the patient and minimizes the hospital length of stay.
Blockages can restrict blood flow to the muscles, causing muscle cramps, tightness or weakness, especially during activity. In the early stages of PAD, patients may not experience any symptoms, Dr. Persky said.
Common symptoms include:
- Leg pain when walking
- Muscle pain or cramping in legs and calf triggered by activity
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Coldness on lower leg or foot
- Sores on toes, legs or feet that won’t heal
- Change in color of legs
Who is at Risk?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk factors for PAD are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Being 60 and over
If you have symptoms of PAD, or if you have questions, please contact the division of vascular surgery at 216-778-4811.