Peripheral arterial disease: What you need to know

    7:18 AM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Many people don't recognize the warning signs of peripheral arterial disease, a serious medical problem that increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.

    Dr. Aravind Rao with the St. Vincent Heart Clinic joins us with more on recognizing and treating PAD.

    PAD is the result of blood vessels in the legs becoming narrow because they're blocked by fatty deposits - in the same way that arteries of the heart become clogged with fatty deposits. When it happens in your legs your feet and legs don't get the proper amount of blood flow. It has strong correlation with heart disease.

    Sometimes there are no symptoms; especially for people with diabetes. Some people will have mild pain in their legs, when walking or exercising that gets better with rest. There can also be tingling, numbness or the lower legs and the feet feel cold. Sores can also develop on the feet and legs that are slow in healing

    Warning Signs of PAD

    • Leg pain
    • Tingling
    • Numbness
    • Cold feet and/or legs
    • Sores

    Who is at risk for PAD?

    • People with diabetes
    • Smokers
    • People with high blood pressure
    • People with high cholesterol levels
    • Being overweight
    • People who are not physically active
    • People older than 50
    • History of heart disease
    • People who have had a heart attack or stroke
    • Family history of heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes

    You can't change your age or your family history, but there are things you can do to lower your risk for PAD.

    • Take your diabetes medication if you have diabetes and maintain a healthy diet
    • Stop smoking
    • If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol take your medication and follow your doctors recommendations for diet and exercise
    • If you are overweight ask your doctor what you need to do to lose weight.
    • Do some physical activity everyday if you're physically not active. But talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program

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