BMN Blog

APR 19

More than 10 million people in the United States are affected by Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). About one in every twenty Americans over the age of 50 has PAD. Smokers are four times more likely to develop the condition.  Peripheral Artery Disease is a strong indicator for potential heart attack and stroke.  Most people are aware of coronary artery disease but few know the symptoms of vascular disease. The most common symptom of PAD in the lower extremities is a painful muscle cramping in the hips, thighs and calves when walking or exercising.   Other symptoms to be aware of are leg numbness, skin discoloration of the legs or toes & loss of hair on the lower legs.                                                                                                                                      

PAD blockages can result in severe pain, limited physical mobility and non-healing leg ulcers leading to amputation in the vessels cannot be revascularized. More than 1 million Americans are living with a limb loss as a result of diabetes and PAD.  Nearly half of these patients die within five years.

PAD is a blockage of arteries in the legs that occurs when cholesterol plaque builds up and hardens in the arteries blocking blood flow. It is a serious condition but treatable. Treatment choices vary depending on the severity. Changing your diet, exercise and stopping smoking are the first steps. Exercise and weight loss can prevent PAD from getting worse. Blood thinners and stent procedures to improve blood flow are the next options of therapy. In angioplasty and stenting, our cardiologists use a balloon or catheter to open the blocked artery by pushing the plaque against the vessel’s wall.  There is also another procedure that we called an atherectomy where we shave off the plaque in the blocked areas. 

Our team of interventional cardiologists at Birmingham Heart Clinic are certified and trained by the American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine. We are among the few in the Southeast that are and have a comprehensive heart & vascular center. Birmingham Heart Clinic also just earned our Vascular Testing reaccreditation by the IAC in the area of Peripheral Venous Testing. We will soon be performing some of the most recent advanced treatments of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) in an outpatient setting for our patients.

For more information, please visit our website

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