Many people aren't aware that your feet can tell you something about your heart health. If your feet are showing signs of poor circulation, caused by a narrowing of the arteries (Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD), your heart could be suffering as well. As part of February's Heart Health Awareness, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, urges people to have a quick and easy test to monitor the circulation in their feet.
Some have no overt symptoms of PAD during the early stages. And by the time symptoms are evident, the arteries often are already blocked.
The typical symptom of PAD is experiencing pain in the legs, when at rest or walking, and occurs in about 10 percent of patients. Some also have other signs of heart disease, such as discomfort in the chest and shortness of breath, if they were to exercise, but they do not realize it because the pain in their legs restricts their daily activity.
In some cases, a patient experiences sores and ulcers that don't heal, which can be a sign of tissue loss in the legs. Treatment is needed to reestablish circulation and save the limb. Some treatment options include stents, a bypass, angioplasty, or procedures to eradicate plaque from the arteries.
The earlier that PAD is caught, the better the chance that treatments will work.
Some patients may enroll in an exercise program, which improves the symptoms of PAD and their heart health. Some types of medication can help the arteries relax so the patient can walk farther.
Those who are at risk for PAD should be tested or screened.
Risk Factors for PAD include:
- Being over the age of 50;
- Smoking (previously or currently);
- High blood pressure;
- Personal or family history of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, or PAD;
- Sedentary lifestyle (infrequent exercise or none at all);
- High cholesterol.
If you are at risk for PAD and think you may be experiencing some of the symptoms, please contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, today at (425) 455-0936 to schedule a consultation.