Tracking a Silent Killer with Your Feet

Perhaps you’re experiencing toe or foot pain that’s bad enough to wake you from a sound sleep. Or maybe your legs and thighs have just felt tired lately. A skin wound or ulcer on your foot that has not healed after 8 weeks, however, should for sure send you to the Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140 or Warren (586) 756-3338 office of Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers. These concerning symptoms may be pointing to peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a condition that affects one in every five people over the age of 70 and 8 to 12 million Americans in total.

The Dangers of PAD

PAD is caused by the buildup of fatty deposits called plaque in the arteries of the legs. This causes narrowing of the arteries and the potential for complete blockage which means decreased blood flow to the feet and legs. Remember the ulcer that wouldn’t heal? That’s because poor circulation prevents the necessary amount of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from reaching the wound. Along with diabetes, PAD is a leading cause of leg and foot amputations. Patients with PAD are two to six times more likely to die from stroke or heart attack.

Prevention and Treatment

Fortunately, many of the factors that increase your risk for developing PAD can be controlled and greatly reduced by making changes to your lifestyle. Risk factors associated with PAD include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoker
  • High cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

Our podiatrists Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw, and Dr. Adam Thompson can perform a simple test to diagnose PAD. It’s called an ankle-brachial index (ABI) and it measures the blood pressure in your ankles and your arm and then compares them. If your ABI is abnormal, the foot doctor will determine the right combination of medication, lifestyle changes and surgery to prevent your PAD from getting worse.

If you have concerns about this or other conditions that can affect your feet and ankles, contact us today.

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