Did you know that your feet can give hints to the health of your peripheral arteries?
These arteries carry blood from the heart to the extremities. When plaque and cholesterol build up in the arteries, blood flow is reduced. This is called peripheral artery disease, or PAD.
How can your feet help? Each foot has 2 pulses that can be felt by a trained physician in a physical examination. By checking these pulses, the doctor can tell if there is normal blood flow to your feet.
If you have diminished blood flow because of PAD, you may be at risk for heart disease and a heart attack. Peripheral artery disease may appear as pain or an uncomfortable feeling in your legs while walking. If PAD becomes severe enough, a foot may have to be amputated.
Further Testing for PAD
Your doctor can confirm peripheral artery disease and measure its severity with the ankle brachial index screening test.
In this test, blood pressure cuff readings from both your arm and your leg are compared. If there is a difference of as little as 10%, you may have PAD.
Another disease indicating a risk of heart problems is coronary heart disease, or CAD. Here the blood flow in the arteries that lead to the heart has been reduced because of cholesterol and plaque. If you have PAD you may also have CAD and these indicate a serious risk of heart disease.
Learn More About Heart Disease During American Heart Month
Do you know the warning signs of heart disease? Do you know that the signs of a heart attack in women can be significantly different than those for men?
February is American Heart Month sponsored by the American Heart Association. This is a good time to learn what symptoms can signal heart disease. For example, both men and women most commonly experience chest pain when suffering from a heart attack, but women may instead experience back pain, nausea or shortness of breath without any chest pain.
Important: if you or a family member exhibits any symptoms of heart disease, call your doctor immediately. Getting treatment right away can minimize heart damage and also save your life.
Contact Us for Relief from Foot and Ankle Pain
Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, board certified or qualified podiatrists at Your Next Step have the right experience to treat all foot and ankle problems. You’ll find contact information at the website for our Ardmore, Paoli and Downingtown offices.