If you’ve ever had a clogged sink in your home, you’ve got an idea of what’s it like to have peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Something in your sink drain prevents the water from emptying down the sink – maybe some clumps of hair. Water trickles around the hair, and it eventually makes it down the drain. When you have PAD, the arteries leading to your lower legs and feet are blocked. Fatty deposits called plaque are like the hair in your sink drain. Blood is like the water, trying to make its way around the plaque to flow down into your lower limbs.
When blood flow reduces to a trickle, you develop symptoms in your lower legs and feet, such as:
- pain or cramping when walking
- legs that tire easily or feel heavy when you move them
- sores on your legs, feet, or toes that won’t heal
- decreased hair growth on legs, feet, or toes
- changes in color, including pale or blue skin
- one foot feels colder to the touch than the other
However, it’s also true some people don’t show any symptoms of PAD, but their medical history puts them at high risk for the disease. These include anyone over 50, those with a family history of PAD, people with diabetes, smokers, and those with high levels of certain fats or cholesterol in the blood or high blood pressure.
If you fall into a high-risk category, ask your doctor about screening you for PAD. If you are having symptoms, it’s important to have them checked out. Lack of blood flow to the lower limbs can cause dangerous infections, tissue death, and amputation. It also puts you at a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.
Our experienced podiatric surgeons, Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann can perform a complete examination and conduct diagnostic tests to see if the arteries leading to your lower legs and feet are blocked. Call Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We offer a modern office with the latest technology for podiatric patients in Portage, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties, proudly serving our patients from Solon, Aurora, Bedford, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, and Twinsburg.