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CRMC informs community about PAD, a common circulatory condition


CRMC informs community about PAD, a common circulatory condition DouglasNow.com file photo

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common circulatory condition that, if left untreated, can increase risk of potentially deadly side effects.  Often presenting little to no outward symptoms, PAD can last for years and often go undiagnosed until severe symptoms develop and the disease is progressed. This is why it’s important to understand the early warning signs and discuss with your doctor.

A vascular disease, PAD is the build-up of plaque in arteries outside of the heart, including the neck, kidneys, abdomen, pelvis and legs.  This build-up of plaque causes the blood vessels to narrow, reducing blood flow to the limbs. Peripheral artery disease can be an indicator that there are more serious issues, including heart disease, that may be present.  If ignored, PAD can lead to more severe events such as heart attack or stroke.

The most common sign of PAD is persistent or intermittent muscle cramping or pain in the hips, thighs, and calves when walking or climbing stairs. This pain is caused by the lack of blood flow to the muscles due to the blockage. PAD symptoms may also include some or all of the following. Numbness or loss of sensation in the affected limb or foot pain when at rest, that often disturbs your sleep.  Slow to heal wounds may also be a symptom. Since blood flow is essential to the healing of wounds, PAD can present itself in this way as well. Another common indication is color and/or temperature of limb.  Blue coloring and cool temperature can be a sign that the circulation is very poor, which may be related to PAD. Risk factors include aging, diabetes, and smoking.

If you think you may be affected, talk to your health care provider about getting tested for PAD. There are many healthy lifestyle steps you can take to reduce the risk and severity of your PAD. 

  • Stop Smoking.
  • Control your blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat foods low in fat and low in cholesterol.
  • Keep your body at a healthy weight.
  • Reduce stress.

The CRMC Wellness Center has a program tailored specifically for patients with PAD.  Supervised exercise therapy for PAD has shown improvement and a reduction in leg pain. This exercise therapy program is offered at the CRMC Wellness Center and is a part of the CRMC Cardiac Rehab program.  Most health insurance plans cover up to 36 sessions. For more information on this program call 912.383.6988.

If your PAD is advanced, causing pain at rest or affects your ability to walk, intervention with medication or surgery may be required.  Coffee Regional Medical Center’s vascular surgeon, Dr. Thomas Wehmann, is highly experienced in vascular disease and procedures. Individualized care plans are created for each patient, depending on patients’ medical history and diagnoses. Ask your healthcare profession for a referral to Dr. Wehmann of CRH Surgical Group in Douglas, or, to schedule an appointment directly, please call CRH Surgical Group at 912.384.5832.

The CRMC Wellness Center is located next to the hospital in the 200 Doctors building, on the second floor, Suite R.  CRH Surgical Group is also located next to the hospital in the 100 Doctors building, on the first floor, Suite C.

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