PAD: Your Feet Tell the Story – Flagstaff Business & Online News

The human body is an amazing machine. The more you use it, the better it works. However, it does require maintenance to keep it up and running and sends you warning signs if problems arise. “Your body is talking to you all the time. The thing is, we often don’t hear what it is saying, ”said Dr. Kerry Zang from CiC Foot and Ankle in Flagstaff.

It’s easy to have a deaf ear and focus on louder worries like your children, your partner, or the reality that you are getting older. One of the conditions that Dr. Zang’s concern is peripheral artery disease (PAD), as it can be easily overlooked as a result of aging.

“If you need to rest because your leg cramps even a short distance while walking, or if you have to get up at night to relieve a cramp in your foot, your legs and feet tell you they need help,” Zang explained . It’s not because you’ve reached a certain age and need to slow down. Unfortunately, often PAD isn’t diagnosed until people tend to think so.

PAD is a build-up of fat in the arteries that limits the amount of blood that can flow through them. This build-up occurs gradually over time and hardens into plaque within the artery and is a condition known as atherosclerosis. Sometimes it is referred to as “hardening of the arteries”. No matter what you call it, this plaque narrows the passage and limits the amount of blood that flows through the body.

“Blood brings the oxygen and nutrients to your feet and toes that they need to keep healthy,” said Zang. Without adequate blood supply, the nerves and muscles in your feet are affected and become painful, causing burning, tingling, numbness, or cramps. “If you ignore it, it can get worse. If you identify and treat it, it is possible to reverse it, ”said Zang.

People with PAD are at much higher risk of other circulatory or cardiac problems and generally have a much higher rate of amputations and deaths from heart attacks or strokes. But there are tell-tale signs of poor blood flow to your legs and feet. You have pain, cramps, or wounds that won’t heal. Ignoring these signs can lead to amputation. And if you have an amputation because you have PAD, your life expectancy will be worse than if you had breast cancer or lymphoma. PAD is often referred to as a silent killer because many people don’t know they have it, and it’s a very fatal condition if left untreated. Simply put, PAD is serious and shouldn’t be ignored.

But there is good news. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a world of difference. PAD symptoms are often felt in your feet first, and they are an indication of what is going on in the blood vessels in your body. “The sooner the condition is detected, the better your chance of preventing it from getting worse,” said Zang.

He urges his patients to speak to their doctor about changes in their feet. Lifestyle changes, medications, and treatments can all help ensure PAD does not have dangerous consequences. “Without treatment, it will only get worse. Waiting has no advantage, ”said Zang. One of the most important results of diagnosing PAD at the first sign is the ability to treat the disease and potentially reduce or prevent complications from occurring.

In some cases, people have been diagnosed with or believe they have neuropathy. This happens because symptoms of PAD are very similar to symptoms of neuropathy and include burning, tingling, numbness, and / or pain. Medications are often prescribed, with mixed results. “If a patient has been on medication and isn’t getting relief, it’s time for them to ask questions,” said Zang. “I cannot stress the importance of diagnosing the condition that is causing the pain.” Often these particular symptoms are PAD.

“If your feet are burning, tingling, or numb, your body is telling you it needs help and you should listen,” advised Zang. “If you have any discomfort or if things just don’t seem right, tell your doctor. We can only help you if you tell us that you need it. “FBN

From Reisha Zang

Reisha Zang is the director of patient education at CIC Foot and Ankle. She can be reached at 480-860-6455 or [email protected].

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