Left untreated, PAD can lead to amputation
Do you have wounds that won’t heal?
One of the first signs of the worst form of PAD, peripheral artery disease (PAD) called critical limb ischemia (CLI), can be a nonhealing wound or ulcer. Pay attention to lingering cuts, scratches or sores on your toes, feet or legs. If these wounds don’t seem to be getting better, it could be serious.
If you have PAD, the arteries in your legs have narrowed and hardened, limiting blood flow to your feet and legs. This makes it harder for your body to heal itself. Blood cells that help you heal and fight infection struggle to reach the wound because the blood flow is so restricted.
People with PAD and diabetes are especially at risk. Diabetes reduces your body’s ability to fight infection and can leave you more susceptible to nonhealing ulcers.20 This kind of wound is the most common risk factor for amputations in patients with diabetes.22
Get a doctor to examine lingering sores
When blood flow to your legs, feet and toes is restricted, the skin in these areas can’t get enough nutrients. Even a minor sore that won’t go away could point to a major problem – one you might have had for some time without knowing it.
The arteries harden and narrow (a process called atherosclerosis) and blood flow to the legs and feet is significantly reduced. This may also involve hardened and narrowed arteries to the heart and brain, causing an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
The obstructed blood flow is so considerable and widespread with CLI that many patients are at significant risk for amputation if they don’t seek treatment. Things can get worse from there – CLI can put a person’s limbs, and even life at risk.4
This condition can be serious, and getting to a doctor right away is critical. Only a health care professional can diagnose you. Download our checklist and use it to have conversation with your doctor about your symptoms and treatment options.
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.
Take the Symptom Quiz
Click below to take the interactive Symptom Quiz. You can print your answers out and take them with you to a doctor to help guide your conversation about PAD.