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Why You Should Never IGNORE Symptoms of PAD

By Russell Becker, DO, Vascular Surgeon

Individuals with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) have blood flow disruptions usually in the feet and legs, but it can also occur in the brain, arms, and heart. When the blood vessels are narrowed or damaged, the blood flow becomes obstructed, and other complications can coincide. PAD can lead to severe medical conditions. Currently, 8.5 million Americans have peripheral artery disease.

Individuals with arterial disease due to atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) often have peripheral vascular disease (PVD) as well. Where other blood vessel conditions like DVT’s (Deep Vein Thrombosis) varicose veins, pulmonary embolisms, and venous insufficiency are interrelated.

Maintaining a healthy diet is critical to keeping your lipid levels in proper balance, coordinately it will assist in supporting the vascular structures through nutrient and antioxidant-dense foods. Dr. Becker, of The Vascular Center of Naples, typically, recommends a low-fat diet full of healthy fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Preventing atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries due to plaque build-up can be achieved through medications as well. However, if the blockage from PAD is severe and life-threatening, a medical procedure will be necessary to open and repair the artery to allow blood to flow normally again.

Symptoms of PAD
• Claudication (leg and calf pain while walking)
• Weak pulse on ankle or foot
• Hair loss on legs and feet
• Leg pain while standing or sitting, which subsides after resting for an extended period of time
• A sensation of tightness & burning may occur in the leg or foot
• Swelling of the calves, which dissipates after elevation
• Dark veins
• Dry, itchy skin
• Ulcers can occur near the ankle and are often painless, but may have a dark rim
• Shortness of breath

Although arterial insufficiency can happen to anyone, the most common factors that put you at risk are family history, smoking, being overweight, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Treatment Options for PAD
• Peripheral Vascular Stent
• Angioplasty
• Bypass Grafting
• Worst-Case May Require Amputation

Because the veins and arteries balance each other out, when an individual is experiencing chronic symptoms it’s critical to see a physician. If the veins are damaged, it’s not unusual that the arteries are not pumping blood efficiently either. PAD must be treated to prevent further damage to your circulatory system and your overall health. If you or someone you know is experiencing any venous or arterial issues, please contact your physician immediately.

Russell Becker, DO, Vascular Surgeon
Dr. Becker received his fellowship training in vascular and endovascular surgery at Wayne State University in Detroit. He is board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery, he’s a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons, and he retains active memberships with the Society for Vascular Surgery and the Florida Vascular Society.

Dr. Becker has experience and interest in all areas of vascular and endovascular surgery, including treatment of conditions like carotid artery disease, hemodialysis access creation and maintenance, and diseases of the veins.

Beyond performing surgery, Dr. Becker is a well published author of vascular surgery literature. He has previously served as an investigator in numerous new and developing clinical device trials and has been a part of the clinical faculty in vascular surgery at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in East Lansing, Michigan.

Vascular Center of Naples
5490 Bryson Dr. Suite 201
Naples, FL 34109
239-431-5884
www.vascularcenternaples.com

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