Interventional Radiologists offer free screenings for peripheral arterial disease in September during Peripheral Arterial Disease Awareness Month
Symptoms that are typically dismissed as signs of getting older, such as pain in the legs while walking that subsides at rest, numbness and tingling in the lower legs and feet, coldness in the lower legs and feet, and ulcers or sores on the legs or feet that don't heal, may be warning signs of something much more serious, peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD is a common condition affecting 12-20 percent of Americans age 65 and older and is a marker for heart attack and stroke. It develops mostly as a result of atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," which occurs when cholesterol and scar tissue build up, forming a substance called plaque that narrows and clogs the arteries and slows blood flow to the legs. Just like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs mean you are at risk for a heart attack or stroke. "Early detection and management of peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, can prevent the progression of the disease which can lead to painful walking, gangrene, amputation, heart attack or stroke," states Harvey Wiener, DO, Legs For Life® Chair.