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Peripheral_arterial_disease_in_PhoenixIf you’re over 60, you may have noticed a few aches and pains that weren’t there before, especially in your legs. It’s usually OK when you’re sitting. However, when you walk distances that you used to consider normal, your legs start to feel sore and achy. Often, they cramp up and cause pains that make you need to sit down until the achiness passes. Lately, it’s taking longer and longer for these pains to pass. Sometimes your legs are even sore even when you’re resting.

You may have been tempted to think, “Oh man, this must be what getting old feels like. I hate it, but I guess I’d better get used to it. After all, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

There IS something you can do about leg pain – find out what’s causing it

The best heart doctors in Arizona want you to know that these symptoms – and others, such as discoloration of the skin and sores on your legs and feet that don’t seem to heal – may NOT just be a “sign of aging.” They might be a sign that you have a disease that affects nearly 1 in 3 people your age: peripheral arterial disease, or PAD.

PAD is caused by the buildup of a sticky substance called plaque on the interior walls of your arteries. The official term for this plaque buildup is atherosclerosis, but you may have heard it called “hardening of the arteries.” And it’s a serious condition, not just a “sign of aging.” If peripheral arterial disease is left undiagnosed and untreated, it could increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death.

So here’s the good news – diagnosing PAD is easy and painless

At Comprehensive Interventional Care Centers, we start with a physical examination. We look for weak pulses in your extremities or differences in your blood pressure when measured at your arm and at your ankle. If these tests indicate possible PAD, we perform a painless, non-invasive ultrasound arterial exam. This test looks beneath the surface of the skin and analyzes the blood flow visually. We can pinpoint the location and severity of any blockages.

If a diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease is still not clear, the interventional radiology specialists at CiC can actually look inside your arteries. We do this by means of a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure called an angiogram.

More good news – if you do have PAD, it can be treated almost as easily

We try to treat minor cases of PAD with medication and lifestyle changes such as exercise, weight loss, and smoking cessation. Some people have a more advanced case of PAD, in which the blockages are becoming dangerous to their overall health. The best interventional cardiologists near you can use minimally invasive procedures such as angioplasty, atherectomy, or stent placement to clear the blockages from your arteries and restore proper blood flow.

But the first step is still to get a checkup, so call today!

The diagnostic procedures we’ve described above are fast, painless, and can be performed in the comfort of our CiC offices. So don’t put off getting a full vascular health checkup because you think your leg pain is due to aging. You just have to “live with it.” If it’s caused by peripheral arterial disease, you really don’t.

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