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September Is PAD Awareness Month

September Is PAD Awareness Month

September is PAD Awareness Month, and in honor of that, our team here at the Diabetic Foot and Wound Center in Bakersfield, California, wants to shine the spotlight on PAD, or peripheral artery disease. 

What is PAD?

Did you know that 6.5 million people in the United States alone have peripheral artery disease (PAD)?  This disease develops when plaque, fatty deposits, and inflammation build up in your arteries. As time passes, the plaque in your arteries hardens and can affect the blood flow to your limbs. Because your arteries transport oxygen-rich blood throughout your body, any blockage can severely impact the circulation to your limbs.

Talk to your podiatrist about PAD

Common symptoms of PAD include ulcers, achiness in your legs and/or feet, skin changes (shiny skin), poor toenail growth, numbness in your legs and/or feet, thigh cramps, and erectile dysfunction. Left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and, in severe cases, loss of limb. 

However, as many as 4 out of every 10 individuals with PAD don’t have any leg pain. This means that your circulation may be compromised without you realizing it. Our team of podiatrists at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center can detect the earliest signs of PAD on your feet, such as poor toenail growth. 

Podiatric care for PAD is even more important if you have diabetes. That’s because diabetes can cause unwanted complications such as slow-healing wounds. Unfortunately, those with diabetes are more at risk for developing atherosclerosis and PAD. If you already have diabetes, your routine foot care is even more important. Diabetic foot exams can provide the monitoring you need to keep your feet healthy.

Don’t ignore your symptoms

If you spot the signs of PAD, resist the temptation to “power through” leg pain or cramping. Treatment can potentially prevent an amputation. Treatments for PAD include:

Because PAD can increase your risk of ulcers, it’s important for those with diabetes to seek podiatric care at the first sign of an injury. Even a small blister can snowball into a large problem if your circulation is poor. To reduce your risk of amputation and gangrene, we provide debridement and wound care for any ulcers or wounds you sustain.

Three ways you can make a difference this September

Now that we’ve covered the basics of PAD, let’s talk about three things you can do this September in honor of PAD Awareness Month. 

  1. Schedule your regular foot assessment and bring up any concerns regarding PAD during your exam.
  2. Get social! Share education materials with friends and family, and don’t forget to use hashtags to increase the reach of your message (#PADawareness, #PADawarenessmonth, and #PeripheralArteryDisease) 
  3. Take action to reduce your risk factors for PAD. This includes weight management and smoking cessation. 

Are you ready to schedule your diabetic foot exam? To make an appointment with Dr. Nieto, call our Bakersfield, California, office at 661-238-7526. You can also book your appointment 24/7 with our online scheduling tool

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