Doctors at Good Samaritan Health System are putting out a warning about Peripheral Artery Disease.
PAD is a serious condition that restricts blood flow in the legs and head. It is caused by the same plaque that builds up in the arteries of the heart and can cause a heart attack.
Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., of Good Samaritan Heart & Vascular Associates, said many people are at risk.
"If you have coronary artery disease, you are at risk for that because you have hypertension, diabetes, or cholesterol problems," Dinerstein said.
Doctors say one in three people with heart disease also has PAD.
"Typically, that presents difficulty walking a set distance. You develop some pain in your calf or the thigh. They stop for a few minutes, that pain goes away," Dinerstein said. "A lot of people think it's arthritis or they think it's just part of getting old."
If you have one of the risk factors or any of the symptoms, you should see your doctor. If you are diagnosed with peripheral artery disease, Good Samaritan Heart & Vascular Associates offers a variety of treatment options.
One option is an exercise program.
"Unfortunately, a lot of people are just like myself and just the thought of getting up and exercising every day is really a tough thing to do," Dinerstein said.
If that is you, too, doctors can write you a prescription. But if that does not work, you may need surgery.
"Angioplasty and stenting - the same type of procedures that you would think about for the heart we do in the leg - are minimally invasive, out-patient procedures that are gonna make, we believe, a big difference in the quality of life for these patients," Dinerstein said.