“Come on, do the circulation!” Schoolhouse Rock said it best: the key to good circulation is getting some exercise and movement into your life! For people who suffer from poor circulation, getting active is one of the easiest ways to get your blood pumping. It’s also the first step on the road to recovery for people with Peripheral Arterial Disease.
Plaque Buildup Equals Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral Arterial Disease happens when plaque builds up in your arteries. Plaque is usually composed of fat, cholesterol, tissue, and calcium. The blockages make it harder for the blood to circulate throughout your body. Decreased blood flow and poor circulation, due to smaller arteries in the legs, can cause numbness, pain, and slow-healing wounds on your feet. This disease can also put you at risk for a number of harmful other conditions and, in severe cases, may result in tissue death and amputation. However, we want you to know that PAD is treatable and we have many ways to improve your foot and leg health at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group.
Pain, Numbness, Burning in the Legs and Fee
Your symptoms may start out as a simple muscle pain in your legs. Some people may downplay their pain and pass it off as sign of getting older. However, it’s important to visit the doctor and get tested for PAD at the first sign of leg pain. This disease may put you at higher risk of a heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and slow-healing wounds, so you need to know that leg pain isn’t normal and should be taken seriously.
Fortunately, there are also a lot of other symptoms that can help you pinpoint this problem. The pain, burning, and numbness will usually flare up during activity and settle down as you rest. It’s less common for the condition to show up in your foot, but it still happens. Other signs include slow-healing wounds, cold legs and feet, hair loss on the legs, and shiny skin on the affected area.
Causes and Risks of PAD
Smoking is the main cause of Peripheral Arterial Disease. The problem can also affect people who have had a history of smoking. Your age is a contributing factor to the disease, as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and lack of exercise.
How We Diagnose PAD
When you visit McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group, we’ll perform a few painless tests to diagnose your condition. We’ll take blood pressure tests at your ankle and your arm and compare the two measurements, which should mostly match each other. A fainter pulse in your ankle may mean that you have PAD. We may need an X-ray of your leg or foot to pinpoint the blockage.
Get Moving to Minimize Symptoms!
Start off strong! The best initial treatment and way to prevent PAD includes getting some exercise! Activity will increase your circulation and get your blood pumping. Eating a healthy diet can also be an easy way to lessen your symptoms and keep the problem away.
A harder, but surefire, way to stop PAD in its tracks is to quit smoking immediately. You can also control your blood pressure and cholesterol to halt progression and prevent future symptoms and pain. We may suggest other medicines and surgeries if you have severe peripheral artery disease.
If you would like to come in for a PAD test, or need more information on treatment and prevention of this disease, please call the McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group in Carmichael, CA, at (916) 961-3434. Poor circulation can be a thing of the past!