HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Could you have peripheral artery disease? Now is the time to check!
September is Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Month. The disease, also called peripheral arterial disease or PAD, is a circulatory issue limiting blood flow to the limbs, typically due to plaque buildup in the arteries. While PAD often causes a lot of pain, many patients show no symptoms and don’t even know they have it.
“Peripheral arterial disease is one of the most important, under-diagnosed diseases in the United States and in the world in general,” says Dr. Mohammad Thawabi, a cardiologist at Huntsville Hospital Heart Center.
The reason - patients aren’t being screened enough.
Those particularly at risk for PAD are patients with diabetes, hypertension or smoking habits. Those above the age of 65 are also more likely to have PAD, regardless of their medical history.
If not diagnosed soon, patients could later be facing more serious issues.
“This is a generalized disease. It affects the heart, the brain. So, there is a high risk of having a heart attack or strokes or other vascular issues," says Dr. Thawabi. "So, it is very important to identify the disease and act on it as soon as possible before we end up with other complications.”
Treatments for the disease include medical therapy, exercise therapy or surgery in more serious cases.
However, before doctors can move forward with treatments, patients need to first be made aware they have PAD.
“A screening is the most important step," says Dr. Thawabi.