Friday, September 18, 2015

Norman, OK,( September 23, 2015) - Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition that develops when the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the internal organs, arms and legs become completely or partially blocked as a result of atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque). PAD can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, amputation and possibly death. PAD affects eight to 12 million Americans, which is why September is recognized as PAD Awareness Month.

There are many possible side effects of atherosclerosis including angina and heart attacks if the coronary arteries are involved; strokes and transient ischemic attacks if the carotid and vertebral arteries are involved; and claudication, non-healing leg ulcers and critical limb ischemia if the lower extremity arteries are involved. Many patients with PAD do not experience symptoms.

“Peripheral artery disease is often undiagnosed until it is advanced,” said Dr. Tay Sha Howell, Medical Director of the Norman Regional Oklahoma Wound Center. “Warning signs are painful legs and feet at night, pain in the legs, buttocks or feet with walking and wounds between the toes. It is really important to have your primary care provider screen for this disease.”

The Oklahoma Wound Center recommends the following action steps to help manage PAD:

  • Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, correcting blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. Smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors for the development of PAD. Managing these conditions can help improve blood circulation.
  • Develop healthy eating habits and an exercise plan. Exercising can help increase the circulation and reduce pain in the lower extremities. Walking, hiking and bike riding are good exercise options. A personal trainer can help tailor a custom workout plan that best fits a person’s needs.
  • Medications. Always consult with a physician about which medications may help PAD and if they are needed.
  • Special procedures and surgeries. In some severe cases of PAD, surgery may be needed to open arteries that have narrowed. Consult with a physician to see if surgery is a necessary treatment.

For more information about PAD and treating chronic wounds, contact the Oklahoma Wound Center at 3500 Healthplex Parkway, Suite 102  Norman, OK 73072 or 405.307.6955.