An estimated one in eight Americans over the age of 60 have Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD, yet many people with PAD don't know they have the dangerous condition. The disease can make it painful to walk, cause sores that won't heal and lead to gangrene and limb amputation, and is also linked with an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke.
September is Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Month and the Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center is helping to bring attention to PAD. Risk factors include high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, inactivity, atherosclerosis and age. While some people with PAD experience chronic toe and foot sores, as well as cramping, numbness or heaviness in the leg muscles, others don't experience symptoms at all.
In an effort to manage PAD, the Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center recommends the following action steps:
- Adopt lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, correcting blood pressure and cholesterol numbers in good ranges.
- Always consult with a physician about which medications may help PAD if they are needed.
- Develop healthy eating habits and an exercise plan. Exercising can help increase circulation and reduce pain in the lower extremities. Iredell Health System's Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center offers medically supervised exercise therapy for PAD patients. For more information, call 704-878-4558.
- In some severe cases of PAD, surgery may be needed to open arteries that have narrowed. Consult with a physician to see if surgery is a necessary treatment.
The Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center performs tests for PAD, treats PAD-related chronic wounds and counsels patients on how to manage the disease. Call 704-768-0542 for more information or to make an appointment.