Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease, PAD, is a progressive disease of the arteries. Peripheral arteries bring oxygenated blood to the arms and legs. PAD occurs when these arteries become narrowed and blocked by the buildup of plaque.

This plaque build-up naturally occurs with age but is accelerated by many factors. These factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, family history, and one very important factor – lack of exercise.

PAD occurs most often in the arteries in the legs. Narrowed and obstructed arteries limit the oxygen delivery that is needed for healthy muscle and tissue to survive. Someone with early PAD might begin to experience pain or discomfort in their legs, thighs or buttocks while walking, but no pain while at rest. This is called claudication.

As the disease progresses, walking becomes very difficult. The lack of oxygen rich blood to the foot or toes may produce pain that disrupts your sleep. This is called resting pain.

Non-healing sores or infections in the toes or feet may develop. In the most severe form of PAD, limb loss may occur because of the death of the tissues past the obstructed portion of the arteries in the legs and feet.

PAD is a serious condition that affects millions over the age of 50. Those with PAD are likely to also have narrowed or obstructed arteries to the heart and brain. This raises the chance of heart attack and stroke in these individuals.

Many believe that leg pain is just a sign of getting older. As a result, many with PAD do not seek medical advice and treatment. It is important to discuss any leg or thigh pain with your health care provider. These symptoms may be a warning sign of PAD.

If you experience symptoms of peripheral arterial disease in your legs, a vascular surgeon is the specialist to see.

Dr. Michael Colburn, along with Dr. Michael Boros, the vascular surgeons at the Vascular Center of Northern Michigan are board certified, fellow trained surgeons practicing in Traverse City Michigan. They, along with two highly trained vascular technologists within the nationally accredited vascular laboratory at VCNM, are able to diagnose PAD by using state of the art equipment.

The non-invasive testing performed at the Vascular Center of Northern Michigan to diagnose PAD include Arterial Duplex Scans, and Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI). After being tested in our lab, Dr. Colburn, or Dr. Boros will discuss the test results and discuss treatment options specific to your diagnosis.

By making an appointment at the Vascular Center of Northern Michigan when you suspect PAD, you will be giving yourself the chance to improve the health of your legs and feet.

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