One out of every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a condition that raises the risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
PAD develops when your arteries become clogged with plaque—fatty deposits that limit blood flow to the legs. Because plaque buildup in the legs doesn’t always cause symptoms, many people can have PAD and not know it.
“It’s common for people to overlook symptoms, such as pain or cramping in the legs, because they perceive it’s just a natural part of aging,” said Archbold interventional cardiologist Clay Sizemore, MD. “But leg pain, particularly with walking, could actually be a sign of PAD, a common yet serious disease.”
“Blockage in the arteries can reduce blood flow to the muscles and other tissues in the legs. This process can result in pain, weakness, and even numbness of the legs,” said Sizemore. “Left untreated, this can progress to ‘critical limb ischemia’, defined by rest pain and/or tissue breakdown. These more severe symptoms are considered a relative procedural emergency as they are associated with a significant risk for eventual amputation.
Sizemore said possibly the most important aspect of identifying PAD is the recognition of future risk for more lethal manifestations of atherosclerosis such as heart attack and stroke.
As part of Archbold Memorial Hospital’s continuing Health Talk free community lecture series, Dr. Sizemore will present, “Does Leg Pain Mean You’re at Risk for Heart Disease? How Identifying Peripheral Artery Disease Can Save Your Life,” on Thursday. The talk is offered free as a clinical outreach effort to uphold Archbold’s core value of Community Benefit.
Dr. Sizemore is board certified in interventional cardiology and treats patients with heart and vascular disease at Archbold Memorial Hospital. To learn more about PAD and its relationship to heart disease, please attend this Health Talk. The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. and be held in the Williams Auditorium East Tower at Archbold Memorial Hospital. Dinner will be served. Pre-registration is requested; call 229-584-5520 or visit www.archbold.org.
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