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Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatment Options

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Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatment Options


Dr. Jon A. Robken, MD, and Interventional Cariology Medical Director at the Genesis Heart Institute, is a guest on PSL to discuss treatment options for Peripheral Arterial Disease. September is Peripheral Arterial Disease Awareness Month.

The first part of the discussion is defining the disorder and how it can be a silent disease. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) happens when there is a narrowing of the blood vessels outside of your heart. The cause of PAD is atherosclerosis. This happens when plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs. Plaque is a substance made up of fat and cholesterol. It causes the arteries to narrow or become blocked. This can reduce or stop blood flow, usually to the legs. The main risk factor for PAD is smoking. Other risk factors include older age and diseases like diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

If you have symptoms, they may include:

  • Pain, numbness, achiness, or heaviness in the leg muscles. This happens when walking or climbing stairs.
  • Weak or absent pulses in the legs or feet
  • Sores or wounds on the toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all
  • A pale or bluish color to the skin
  • A lower temperature in one leg than the other leg
  • Poor nail growth on the toes and decreased hair growth on the legs
  • Erectile dysfunction, especially among men who have diabetes

The good news is that Robken outlines that there are less invasive treatment options (previously heart bypass surgery was the primary procedure). Endovascular procedures like stents, balloons, catheters that can provide relief. The key is early diagnosis for the best outcomes and quality of life.

Robken is licensed to practice in both Iowa and Illinois. His office is located in the Heart Institute of Genesis Health System at 1236 E. Rusholme Street, Suite 300, Davenport, Iowa. He may be reached by calling 563-324-2992.

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