Recognizing PAD Awareness Month
September means back-to-school, football and pumpkin spice. And at Lam Vascular & Associates, it’s also the month we really get to shine a spotlight on Peripheral Artery Disease, a serious condition we are passionate about treating every day, all year long. Why? September is National PAD Awareness Month!
At Lam Vascular & Associates, we love to educate people about PAD. Why? It’s just that important. 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 the arteries. PAD primarily affects the legs, but can also damage arteries in the kidneys, abdomen, feet, ankles, pelvis, hips, buttocks and arms.
Even more important than knowing what PAD is? Knowing you have PAD and seeking treatment early could save your limb and your life.
PAD Signs and Symptoms
It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of PAD to better prepare for how to manage them. The risk for PAD increases with age, and diabetes is one of the most common risk factors, especially in individuals over 50 years old.
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
It’s important to 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 Word About the Diabetes and PAD Connection
Many people are aware that diabetes is a major contributing factor to heart attack and stroke, but it is less commonly known that the risk of heart attack and stroke is directly related to PAD. The American Diabetes Association estimates that about one out of every three people aged 50+ 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 healthy body weight and regular exercise can help control blood sugar levels as can avoiding smoking and working with your doctor to manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It’s also vital that patients with diabetic vascular disease be vigilant about caring for their feet. Proper foot care is essential in preventing foot sores, which can lead to amputation.
Diagnosing and Treating PAD
Knowing the risk factors and what symptoms you need to look for is 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. The longer PAD goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more life-and-limb-threatening it can become, also increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Lifestyle changes and medication are the two most common treatments for PAD, but when those are not enough, Dr. Russell Lam may recommend surgical intervention. Luckily, 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
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 Mean a Second Chance at Life
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 inevitable.
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.