An estimated 25 million Americans are at risk for vascular disease, a condition that results from the narrowing of arteries or veins that carry blood throughout the body. One of the most common vascular conditions is peripheral artery disease (PAD) which affects 8 to 12 million Americans, according to the Vascular Disease Foundation.

Dr. Jeffrey Wang, vascular surgeon and medical director for vascular research at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, explains that PAD occurs when the peripheral arteries, most commonly in the legs or pelvis, are narrowed or blocked by plaque.

“If left untreated, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, gangrene or amputation,” says Dr. Wang.

Often symptoms of PAD go unnoticed or are misinterpreted for something else. However, if you have PAD, you may experience:

  • Leg pain that does not go away after you stop exercising
  • Non-healing or slow healing foot or toe wounds
  • Decreased temperature of the lower leg or foot compared to the other leg or rest of your body

Dr. Wang says certain people are at higher risk for developing PAD including those who smoke, people with diabetes or those with high blood pressure or cholesterol.

“You can reduce your risk for PAD by learning your family history, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly,” says Dr. Wang. “If you think you are at risk or are experiencing symptoms, you should speak with your doctor.”

The Vascular Ultrasound Laboratory at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center offers non-invasive vascular ultrasound to detect PAD and other vascular conditions. Ultrasounds are able to find narrowing or blockages by measuring blood flow with sound waves.

Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center is also home to a multidisciplinary Wound Care Center that uses advanced medicine to treat non-healing or slow healing wounds such as those caused by PAD.

Find out about all of the services, classes and events that Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center offers to help you learn about your vascular and heart health. Learn your risk, adjust your habits and take control of your health today!