Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

PAD Treatment in Dallas

Peripheral artery disease is caused by the constriction or blockage of blood vessels that reduce blood flow to the legs, usually caused by arterial plaque buildup. PAD can be successfully treated, especially by making important lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and managing your weight. Most patients can halt the progression of PAD through exercise therapy, which in turn lowers the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiac event.

Although the signs of PAD may come and go, you shouldn’t just accept leg pain as a normal sign of aging, because it could be a serious, yet treatable problem. You should see a doctor for PAD if you have risk factors that make you susceptible to the disease, such as smoking, having diabetes, being overweight, or if you are over age 50. Any of these risk factors can cause reduced blood flow to the legs.

PAD symptoms include:

  • Leg pain while walking, or leg pain while at rest if the condition has progressed
  • Leg numbness and weakness
  • Leg wounds that do not heal
  • Slower toenail growth
  • Shiny leg skin
  • For men, erectile dysfunction

Peripheral Artery Disease in the African American & Minority Populations

In all ethnicities, PAD is a disease in which the constricted arteries are clogged and it limits the blood flow to the legs. It is often co-occurs in people with diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetes, because the body doesn’t have enough insulin, arterial plaque builds up more quickly in the blood vessels, and this slow the blood flow to the eyes, ankles, and toes. Blindness or even tissue death can follow, and many can’t have dulled sensation and can’t detect the pain of their blood-starved legs, because of the destruction of their bodies nerves, which can cause a stroke, heart attack, or more specifically if it affects only the legs: a condition called gangrene.

The unfortunate truth is that minority populations, especially African American/Black people, are disproportionately treated with amputation, because PAD isn’t diagnosed in time to treat it effectively, or their doctor resort to amputating their Black patient’s legs prematurely. These people of color receive unequal and inequitable health care because of discrimination and other factors that oppress their community. This is not just a subjective stance or the viewpoint of our clinic: It is based in fact and it has been reported by various, credible, and peer-reviewed research studies that show alarming statistics.

At CVIG, we treat African American/Black and all patients who are people of color with the respect, equity, and commitment they deserve. Our own staff is ethnically diverse, and always seeks to use limb amputation as the final and last resort before exhausting other treatment avenues. We also provide education to our patients of all ages, races, and backgrounds to be particularly careful of their health if they smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

Ankle-Brachial Testing for PAD

The test to diagnose PAD is simple, quick, and noninvasive, called ankle-brachial index (ABI) testing. This test uses one blood pressure cuff on your ankle and another on y our arm, and the numbers are then compared. Based on the number calculated, your ABI test may show you have no blockage, moderate block, or indicate you have PAD. Depending on your test results and the severity of your blockage, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery.

Treatment for PAD

The goals of PAD treatment as to manage leg pain symptoms and stop the disease progression to lessen your risk of heart attack or stroke. Making essential lifestyle changes can help tremendously, such as managing your weight, eating a healthy diet, and getting sufficient physical exercise. Medication may be necessary to lower your cholesterol, manage your blood pressure, control your blood sugar, prevent blood clots, or other symptom-relieving medicines. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, such as angioplasty to inflate and reopen the artery that is blocked.

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