PAD:Those Aching, Painful Legs!
Family Conversations Workshop
|Sponsored by Heart Beats, Inc.|
|Wednesday, November 8, 2006|
|5:30 p.m. ||Refreshments and informal conversation|
|Bridgeport Hospital Cafeteria, second floor|
|267 Grant Street, Bridgeport|
|6:00 p.m. ||Speaker and discussion|
|Hollander Auditorium, fourth floor|
Please join us!
Bring you family, and learn how to communicate
about health, finances and personal wishes.
Speaker: Gerd Weindling
Connecticut Commission on Aging; Past President, AARP
PAD:Those Aching, Painful Legs!
You start out on a walk, but after a few minutes your
legs become so painful that you have to stop. In a few
minutes you feel better. You start walking again, and it
happens again. So you stop taking those walks. Pretty
soon it gets so bad that youre unable to do anything
that requires even a short walk.
Is this just another inevitable part of growing older?
Maybe not. Maybe its treatable. Maybe its Peripheral
Artery Disease, or PAD (sometimes called Peripheral
Vascular Disease, or PVD).
PAD affects approximately 12 million Americans. It
starts silently, but can become so painful that your
lifestyle is severely affected. However, prompt treatment
PAD most commonly develops in people over age 50,
and is caused by atherosclerosishardening of the
arteriesthe same plaque buildup process that causes
heart attacks and strokes. But with PAD, the clogged
arteries are located downstream, below the heart. PAD
can involve not only the feet and legs, but also the kidneys,
arms, intestines and other body parts. Because it
covers so many different areas of the body, it is diagnosed
and treated by a variety of medical specialists.
Vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists, cardiologists,
gastroenterologists and nephrologists (kidney specialists)
all treat patients with PAD.
Causes of PAD
The causes of PAD are the same lifestyle, genetic and
aging risk factors that contribute to coronary artery
disease: smoking, diabetes, a diet high in saturated fats,
obesity, inactivity, high cholesterol and high blood
pressure. Being more than 50 years old and/or having a
family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease,
strokes or abdominal aortic aneurysms also put you at
Testing for PAD
The common test for PAD involves an ABI, or anklebrachial
index, which is a simple and painless test.
With a regular blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope,
your blood pressure is measured in both arms and
ankles, and your pulse is checked in arms and legs
as well. Other tests may include a duplex ultrasound
(a test that combines conventional ultrasound with
Doppler technology to see the structure of blood vessels
as well as real-time images of the movement of the
blood through your vessels), magnetic resonance
angiography or MRA (a test that uses magnetic fields
and radio waves to produce two- and three-dimensional
images of the vessels), and computed tomography
angiography or CTA, which uses X-rays to visualize
blood flow in arteries and veins. Testing may also
include an ultrasound study of the abdomen for signs
of an aortic aneurysm (a balloon-like bulge in the
aortathe bodys largest blood vessel).
You probably need to get a workup if you
have claudication (leg pain while walking
that goes away when you rest)
feel numbness and tingling or coldness in
the lower legs and feet
have ulcers (sores) on legs or feet that
do not heal quickly
have heart disease, carotid artery disease
or kidney trouble
smoke and are between the ages of 5069
are more than 70 years old
experience abdominal pain, especially when
it is associated with meals or when it spreads
around to the back
Treatment for PAD
Treatment involves aggressively treating the cause
Lifestyle changes: Smoking cessation and structured
exercise are often all that is needed to alleviate symptoms
and prevent further progression of the disease.
Medications: Drugs to lower your cholesterol and
blood pressure, blood thinners and clot-prevention
medications can help to control the symptoms of PAD.
Angioplasty and Stenting: Angioplasties and stents
(called peripheral interventions) are used to treat
blocked arteries in the legs and kidneys, just as is done
with heart arteries. A thin catheter is threaded through
the femoral artery in the groin and a tiny balloon is
used to open the blocked vessel. Sometimes a tiny wire
stent is used to keep the artery open.
Cryoplasty: This type of angioplasty is a new procedure
in which the balloon is filled with nitrous oxide,
which freezes the plaque inside the artery during the
angioplasty. This may help to decrease the risk of
reoccurrence of the blockage, explains Stuart Zarich,
MD, Chief of Cardiology at Bridgeport Hospital.
Surgery: Vascular surgeryto remove blockages,
bypass the blocked vessels, or repair aneurysmsis an
integral part of the treatment of PAD, which can be
done at the same time as peripheral interventions or as
a stand-alone procedure.
So dont accept leg pain. Consult your doctors and ask
if screening for Peripheral Artery Disease might be right