Severe foot or leg pain and wounds that won’t heal are symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Hispanics are approximately 50% more likely to be amputatedTo have had all or part of a limb (leg, foot or toe) surgically removed. than Caucasians for PADPeripheral Artery Disease, a potentially life threatening disease where plaque, like calcium, builds up along blood vessel walls, narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow to the legs and feet..47
Learn More About PAD
Peripheral artery diseasePeripheral artery disease (PAD) is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, and other substances in the blood. (PAD) affects 20 million Americans.1 Knowing the signs and risk factors help with early detection. This may help broaden treatment options which range from non-invasive to invasive.
Make informed decisions and have open conversations with your physician and get a second opinion if amputationTo surgically remove all or part of a limb (leg, foot or toe) is recommended.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed with peripheral arteryArteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body. disease (PAD).
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That may not just be your age catching up to you or “poor circulation.” It could be much worse than it appears. You might have peripheral artery disease, or PAD. Without treatment PAD can lead to intolerable pain, amputation and even death. Find out how you can take a stand against amputation.
Symptoms of PAD
Cold toes or feet
Dry, discolored skin
Pain while walking
Nighttime leg pain
Painful, heavy legs
Numbness or burning sensations
Wounds that won't heal
Gangrene or black tissue
Symptoms of PAD
If blood is not easily reaching your toes and feet, those areas will experience a drop in temperature.
One of the first signs of the worst form of PAD, called critical limb ischemiaAlso potentially known as CLI, the most severe and deadly form of peripheral artery disease. (CLI), can be a nonhealing wound or ulcerUlcers (or wounds) can occur when there is poor blood flow in your legs or feet. Poor blood flow causes cells to die and damages tissue, often on the feet and legs. These types of wounds can be slow-healing..
Aches and pains from PAD are the result of narrowed, hardened arteriesArteries are blood vessels that carry blood to your heart and other parts of your body. in the legs, limiting blood flow to your legs and feet.
With CLI, the obstructed blood flow is so considerable and widespread that nighttime pain attacks in your legs or feet can last minutes to hours long.
You shouldn’t have to cope with painful, heavy legs as a normal part of getting older.
If you notice a strange tingling in your foot, or you feel like your entire leg is on fire, pay attention to what your body is telling you and see a health care professional.
You may notice your skin feels drier than normal, and is an unusual color. Parts of your skin could appear to be more red when you’re sitting or standing. Or, your skin might have an unhealthy paleness when your leg is elevated.
GangreneGangrene is dead tissue, caused by poor blood flow to part of your body. Gangrene can occur on the skin or in muscles or organs. Peripheral artery disease is a known cause of gangrene. can cause your skin to dry or shrivel, and the flesh to turn colors — brown to purple to black — and eventually fall off.
Stop ignoring the signs. Talk to a PAD specialist. Take control of your health.
Raul can’t sleep anymore; the pain is so bad
His leg has been hurting for longer than he might admit. The pain often interrupts his sleep. His only relief is hanging his foot off the edge of the bed.
Raul doesn’t know it, but the pain in his leg might mean he has one of the worst forms of peripheral artery disease (PAD), called critical limb ischemia. The disease narrows and hardens arteries in his legs and feet, limiting blood flow. Symptoms include aches, numbness and burning sensations.
If left untreated, things can rapidly get worse, including the possibility that his disease could lead to having his leg amputated.9 Fortunately for Raul, there’s a simple, noninvasiveNoninvasive procedures don’t require a cut or incision through the skin. Standard eye exams or X-rays are examples of noninvasive procedures. test his doctor can do to show if there is a problem with blood flow to his legs called the ankle-brachial indexThis is the ratio of the systolic blood pressure (SBP) measured at the ankle to that measured in the arm artery. It is sometimes also called the ankle-arm index. (ABI).
This test is excellent at showing doctors the severity of PAD.23 The test compares the blood pressure in your ankle to that in your arm. It’s a way for a doctor to determine if Raul’s arteries are blocked. The doctor can then develop a treatment plan to alleviate his pain and minimize the risk that his condition will worsen.
If left untreated, Raul could develop wounds that won’t heal and an amputation may be required. Does this sound familiar? If you have nighttime leg pain, learn more about other symptoms of PAD and share your concerns with a health care professional.
Raul is not an actual patient. His story is intended to represent part of the population with PAD. Symptoms, treatment options and outcomes may vary.
Diabetes is a powerful risk factor of peripheral artery disease (PAD). It has been linked to increased risk for amputation, including PAD-related amputations and putting a person’s life at risk.
Talk to Your Doctor
Only a health care professional can diagnose you with PAD. Our Symptom Quiz can help guide the conversation about your treatment options.
Download the Symptom Checklist
You can print the checklist out and take it with your doctor to help guide your conversation about PAD.