Benjamin J. Makamson, D.O.
Lee C. Ferguson, D.O.
Michael B. Hogan, M.D.
Ralph B. Pfeiffer, Jr., M.D.

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Vascular Associates of South Alabama

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Tips for vascular health

Is It Neuropathy or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).png

The Signs

You’re just sitting down with a good book or to catch the six o’clock news, when the shooting or stabbing pain in your feet you’ve overlooked before, is now undeniable. Unsure of the cause, you go into doctor mode and look for answers by Google.

Out for a nice walk, suddenly and without any real rhyme or reason, your legs feel like they’re cramping up, especially in your calves. You decide to sit on the nearest chair or bench, and the pain begins to disappear.  What’s going on here?

 

The Causes

Peripheral Neuropathy, or peripheral neuritis, is the result of damage or disease to your nervous system. Diabetes is generally considered the main cause, but exposure to toxins, injuries or infections can also be what causes the damage.  Neuropathy symptoms range from numbness, weakness, to a pins-and-needles sensation that is painful.  Left unattended, the pain can become acute.

Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD, is a disease brought on by the narrowing of arteries that carry blood and affects the extremities of your body, such as legs and feet.  Being overweight, smoking or lack of exercise are all contributing factors to PAD.  To add to your frustration, when you move, pain begins and can grow worse and only seems to get better when you are at rest.  But this is a tell-tale sign of PAD. Left untreated, you may also see changes in skin color, or form noticeable sores. And plaque buildup can cause clots, which will further reduce the flow of blood, or may even block it altogether, which may result in a damaging infection or possible amputation.  

First Things First

Nearly all of us at some point or another will experience some sort of discomfort or minor aches and pains. Whether it’s muscle soreness, cramps, or a slight twinge, we usually pass these off with excuses, like, “I haven’t used those muscles in a while”, or, “I stepped wrong”, and so on.  We also attempt to reason it away with thoughts such as a lack of exercise, miscalculating the weight of a particular object and even age. 

However, when the pain can no longer be ignored, when it doesn’t completely go away on its own or with simple pain meds, it’s time to get serious about the root cause, because doing so will make the path taken to find relief become clearer.    

Begin making mental or written notes of such things as, when the pain occurs, what you are doing, does it go away, etc. And remember to be specific about what areas hurt.  

 

The Way Ahead

Share these notes with your doctor, or with us and we’ll go over your symptoms together. We’ll discuss things like your current lifestyle or any recent changes to your daily routine, and from that, forge a way forward to get you back to better health. 

With either neuropathy or PAD, a better, healthier you, is possible. Our staff has the experience, knowledge and expertise to get you there. Schedule an appointment with us, today!

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