PAD is a disease that can have serious medical consequences for your feet as well as the rest of your body. In many cases, patients are unaware that they have it and that’s why we at Texas Foot Specialists want to offer some information about this condition. Below are some questions and answers about PAD:
Q: What is PAD?
A:PAD stands for peripheral arterial disease. This condition occurs when plaque (an accumulation of cholesterol and other debris) clings to the walls of arteries and causes them to narrow. This results in reduced circulation and impeded blood flow. PAD most commonly affects the legs and feet (although it can occur in any artery of the body).
Q: Who gets PAD?
A:PAD often goes hand in hand with other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In addition, there are several factors that increase your risk for PAD. These include: a family history of PAD, heart disease, stroke or heart attack, over age 50, smoker and living a sedentary lifestyle.
Q: How does PAD affect the feet?
A:Good blood circulation is necessary for healing. If you have PAD, foot issues such as bunions and hammertoes become more serious. You may develop wounds or ulcers that are resistant to healing and can become infected. For this reason, even minor foot problems like an ingrown toenail or blister can pose a serious medical threat. PAD, especially if you have diabetes as well, increases your chance of neuropathy or loss of sensation in your feet. This makes it easier for injuries to occur.
Q: What are the symptoms of PAD?
A:Although symptoms may not be noticeable until the arteries are severely blocked, they can include:
- Numbness or weakness in the legs
- Cramping or pain in the legs that may occur when lying down or while walking
- Cold feet or legs
- Changes in skin or nail color and the thickness of toenails
- Wounds or sores that don’t heal
- Hair loss on legs and feet
Q: Can PAD be treated?
A:Yes. Lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, losing weight or starting an exercise program can help. There are also medical and surgical treatment options. If you have any of the medical conditions associated with PAD, it’s important that you have regular podiatric exams with our foot doctors Bruce Miller, DPM and Gregory Mangum, DPM at our Houston (713) 664-6677, Sugar Land (281) 242-4448 or Pasadena (281) 991-0600 office.