Jim’s Peripheral Artery Disease Story
Jim Larussa of Dallas is so grateful for his life today and marvels at how different it was just five short years ago. In 2016, Jim began to experience leg pain and numbness in both his legs. He saw a variety of doctors and specialists. None of them diagnosed him with Peripheral Artery Disease, but Jim underwent several vascular surgical procedures to try to restore blood flow. Nothing helped. And by mid-2018, he couldn’t walk any distance without pain.
Fast forward to October of that same year. Jim saw an ad for The Limb Salvage Center at Lam Vascular & Associates. The full-page newspaper ad was an educational overview of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Jim had never heard of it before, but the symptoms sounded strangely familiar, and he began to wonder if that’s what he’d been dealing with for so many years. So he scheduled an appointment with Dr. Russell Lam to find out.
Proper PAD Diagnosis and Treatment Made the Difference
On October 19, a day Jim will never forget, Dr. Lam told Jim indeed he was dealing with PAD. Doppler testing revealed Jim had less than 1% blood flow to his right foot and was at risk of losing it if something wasn’t done. So Dr. Lam performed a procedure on Jim’s right leg shortly after his first appointment. “Relief, the minute I walked!” said Jim. Not long after that, Dr. Lam performed another in-office procedure on his left leg.
“He came to see me in recovery and told me I presented a very challenging case to him and that my procedure was probably among the top five most challenging cases he’d seen that year,” said Jim. “When I asked him how many of those kinds of surgeries he did in a year, and he told me 1000 to 1,100, I understood just how serious my condition was.”
Jim has since had a few more procedures with Dr. Lam to correct the malfunctions and inadequacies from a previous surgery (with another surgeon). And today, he feels better than he has in years, with no ongoing issues with his legs.
“Dr. Lam was able to give me such hope,” said Jim. “For other people out there suffering like I was, and working with a non-innovative surgeon who would rather just amputate than try to save it, you need to know about The Limb Salvage Center at Lam Vascular & Associates. Dr. Lam is a very capable, innovative surgeon who never stops trying. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. He is my hero.”
PAD Can be a Sneaky Disease
It’s important to know that some people experience no signs and symptoms when PAD is in its early stages. In fact, more than 50% of people with PAD show none of the classic signs or symptoms. This is known as asymptomatic PAD. For this reason, it is important to understand and talk to your doctor about your risk factors to prevent the condition from worsening. This is where knowing the risk factors comes into play.
The risk for PAD increases with age, and diabetes is one of the most common risk factors, especially in individuals over 50 years old. Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of heart or vascular disease.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should come see us:
- Painful leg cramping
- Numbness, weakness or heaviness
- Resting leg pain
- Cold feet or toes
- Dry or discolored skin
- Burning sensation or aching feet
- Hair loss on feet and legs
- Foot sores that won’t heal
Diagnosing and Treating PAD
Knowing the risk factors and what symptoms you need to look for is simply not enough when it comes to PAD. This is why we are constantly educating about early intervention because it could quite literally save both your limb and your life. The longer PAD goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more life-and-limb-threatening it can become.
Lifestyle changes and medication are the two most common treatments for PAD, but when those are not enough to get the condition under control, we may recommend surgical intervention. Thankfully, today’s technology has allowed these procedures to be minimally invasive in most cases, and therefore, they often do not require a hospital stay or extensive downtime.
The Limb Salvage Center Saves Limbs and Lives
We are taking PAD care to the next level with our onsite, dedicated state-of-the-art Limb Salvage Center. Here, we perform many endovascular or minimally invasive procedures for a variety of vascular conditions. For patients battling challenging conditions like PAD, one convenient location for all their ongoing care is a game-changer.
Thankfully, amputations and invasive surgeries are far less common for PAD treatment due to the development of these endovascular procedures. Dr. Lam specializes in them – including laser atherectomy and angioplasty with stenting – and has performed over 10,000 to date.
A Second Opinion Could Lead to a Second Chance at Life
At Lam Vascular & Associates, we see people every day, just like Jim, who have been told amputation is their only option. The truth is, there is often another option. Our amazing team of vascular specialists is a regional leader in second opinion evaluations that have saved thousands of limbs of people who thought amputation was inevitable.
Your Next Step Matters. If you or someone you love are experiencing the signs and symptoms of PAD, you owe it to yourself to find out for sure what it is you are dealing with. Schedule an appointment with our vascular experts today.