Your leg pain could be a sign of a life-threatening disease
Stepping in strain?
If you're living with leg pain, you may suffer from Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). It's a common but serious condition that develops when leg arteries narrow and clog with cholesterol and fat, elevating your risk of heart attack or stroke.
"PAD can affect your ability to work and participate in hobbies and reduce your independence and overall quality of life," says Nora Munson, MS, Director, Cardiopulmonary Services, Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics.
The disease causes painful cramping in the legs while walking, which is relieved by rest. PAD may also appear as poorly healed wounds or sores on your feet or toes.
"Often people who experience symptoms will not report them because they believe they are a natural part of aging or due to another cause, such as arthritis," Nora says. "One important thing to note is that PAD does not always have symptoms, so people may have it and not know."
One in every 20 people older than 50 has PAD. You're at a higher risk for the disease if you have a history of diabetes, smoking, heart attack, stroke or coronary artery disease. Early diagnosis and treatment decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, restores your mobility and may save your life, Nora says.
PAD can be detected at Gundersen Boscobel through a non-invasive test called an ankle-brachial index, which compares the blood pressure in your ankle and arm.
Gundersen Boscobel's PAD Rehabilitation Program can relieve your pain and help slow progression of the disease through supervised exercise and lifestyle modifications. With the help of Gundersen Boscobel exercise physiologists, nurses and a dietitian, you can expect reduced pain, improved walking tolerance and a better quality of life.
To learn more about PAD or to see if Gundersen Boscobel's PAD Rehabilitation Program is right for you, call our experts at (608) 375 - 6221.