Spotlight on PAD Awareness Month
Hello, September. So nice to see you. If you could bring us some cooler temps in Dallas, we’d be grateful! At Lam Vascular & Associates, we love September (even if it is still hovering in the mid to upper 90s most days). See, September is the month we get to shine a spotlight on Peripheral Artery Disease, a serious condition we are passionate about treating every day, all year long. Happy National PAD Awareness Month!
At Lam Vascular & Associates, educating our patients about PAD is a primary focus. Even though this limb-threatening condition is very common, it’s not very well known or talked about. We’re out to change that!
What is PAD?
PAD is a very common medical condition in which a build-up of plaque due to atherosclerosis makes it difficult for blood to circulate through your arteries. PAD primarily affects the legs and feet but can also damage arteries in the kidneys, abdomen, feet, ankles, pelvis, hips, buttocks and arms.
But even more important than knowing about PAD is knowing you have PAD because seeking treatment early could save your limb and your life.
What are the Symptoms of PAD?
It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of PAD so you’ll recognize them for what they are. In addition, the risk of developing PAD increases with age, and diabetes is one of the most common risk factors, especially in people over 50 years old.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with one of our vascular experts:
- Painful leg cramps
- Numbness, weakness or heaviness in the legs
- Leg pain that persists even when resting
- Cold feet or toes
- Dry or discolored skin
- Burning sensation or aching legs and feet
- Hair loss on legs and feet
- Foot sores that won’t heal
You should know that 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.
A Closer Look at the Diabetes and PAD Connection
Many people know that diabetes is a major contributing factor to heart attack and stroke but often don’t know that the risk of heart attack and stroke is directly related to PAD. The American Diabetes Association estimates that around one out of every three people aged 50 and over with diabetes also has PAD.
One of the most important steps to reducing the risk of diabetic vascular disease is making sure your blood sugar levels are always within safe, acceptable levels. Maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising regularly can help control blood sugar levels. You should also avoid smoking and work with your doctor to manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Finally, be vigilant about caring for your feet! For people living with diabetes, proper foot care is essential in preventing foot sores, which can lead to amputation.
How Do You Treat PAD?
Knowing the risk factors and what symptoms you need to look for is still not enough when it comes to PAD. This is why we stress early intervention because it could quite literally save both your limb and your life. So many of our patients were at risk of losing one or both legs when they came to us. And we’re delighted to report that we were able to prevent amputation in the vast majority of cases. Happy patient stories here.
Lifestyle changes and medication are the two most common treatments for PAD, and in many cases, this is where we will start. But when those are not enough or your condition has progressed to a more serious degree, we may recommend surgical intervention.
Advances in the field have allowed these procedures to be minimally invasive in most cases, and therefore, they often do not require a hospital stay or extensive downtime. A few of the PAD procedures we specialize in are laser atherectomy and angioplasty with stenting. Dr. Russell Lam has performed more than 10,000 to date!
The Limb Salvage Center at Lam Vascular & Associates
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 dealing with challenging conditions like PAD, one convenient location for all their ongoing care is important.
This unique center is designed to help you fully understand your options, and with guidance from Dr. Lam and the Lam Vascular & Associates team of specialists, choose the right treatment plan or procedure for you. Take a virtual tour here.
Second Opinions Often Lead to Second Chances
At Lam Vascular & Associates, we see many individuals who have been told amputation is their only option. The truth is, that’s rarely the case. 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 going to be their story. But they changed their story! And you can, too.
Your Next Step Matters. If you believe you or someone you love is experiencing the effects of PAD, you owe it to yourself to find out for sure. Schedule an appointment with our vascular experts today.