Why is it so important to treat PAD? [Dr. Rundback]

Q: Why is it so important to treat PAD?

A: When you have Peripheral Arterial Disease, which is blockage of the arteries in the legs due to atherosclerosis, it may be asymptomatic with regard to the symptoms in the leg. However, and this is crucially important, this is an indicator that patients may have a blockage in arteries elsewhere.

The classic scenario is if somebody walks in and they have a blockage in leg arteries, even if they’re asymptomatic, they now need an evaluation to make sure there is no underlying coronary artery disease and risk of heart attack or blockage in neck artery and risk of stroke.

Those patients need guideline-based, appropriate medical therapy, which is really very often overlooked, not just to save the limb, but more importantly, to save a life. Obviously, as the blockages progress, now those patients are at risk of developing pain when they exert or walk, which is called claudication, pain at rest. When you no longer have gravity assisting blood flow and you get pain which wakes you up at night, or wounds and ulcerations or potential gangrene, it can result in limb loss.

In those cases, clearly, it’s extremely important to understand the effects of Peripheral Arterial Disease and recognize this as Peripheral Arterial Disease. Counsel your physician that they need to evaluate for Peripheral Arterial Disease to help explain the leg symptoms. Then see an endovascular specialist or a vascular specialist, such as our experts at American Endovascular and Amputation Prevention. My take-home lesson, particularly as you get older, is that leg pain is not a normal part of getting older. Wounds are not a normal part of getting older. Very often, this is due to atherosclerosis or Peripheral Arterial Disease in the legs and you need to see a vascular specialist.

More videos from the interview with Dr. Rundback of the NJ Endovascular & Amputation Prevention as he explains the importance of foot health when you have Peripheral Artery Disease:

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