September is National P.A.D Month: Are You At Risk?
Between the changing of seasons bringing cooler temperatures, and events such as the 2012 First Coast Heart Walk, and Northeast Florida Beer Cup approaching, September is shaping up to be an exciting month in Jacksonville. September is also P.A.D awareness month. P.A.D stands for Peripheral Arterial Disease and currently affects around 8 million Americans. People with PAD are at significantly increased risk for stroke and heart attack. If caught early P.A.D is preventable and can be easily treated. P.A.D occurs when arteries in the legs become clogged or blocked by fat deposits and cholesterol that stick to and accumulate on the walls of the artery. The more narrow and hard the artery is, the harder it is for blood to pass through, leading to decreased blood flow to the legs and feet that can result in a number of symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Painful cramping in the legs while walking
- Numbness and/or weakness of the lower extremity
Symptoms that occur later in the disease include:
- Pain or burning in the feet or toes while resting
- Coolness and color changes of the skin
- Loss of hair
- Wounds of the feet or toes that do not heal
Risk factors include:
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Age greater than 50
Here at First Coast Foot Clinic, we use the reliable, non-invasive Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) to test for P.A.D. Blood pressures are taken on both the arm and the ankle, and are compared to each other. The ankle blood pressure should be about the same as the arm blood pressure, in which normal values are 0.95-1.2. If it is below this, a patient will be tested further for P.A.D. Sometimes P.A.D can show no symptoms at all, so it is important to get tested if you are at risk. So while you are enjoying the Northeast Florida Beer Cup, be aware of what puts you at risk and remember you can always walk off those extra beer calories at the First Coast Heart Walk and keep your lifestyle active. September is going to be a great month here in Jacksonville, but try to stay aware of P.A.D and catch it early.