Is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Dangerous?

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Now, cigarette smoking is a big cause of this as well as diabetes, and we've talked about that. But, what I want to know now is how you get screened. Now I'm going to bring something to you that most of you don't know but it's unfortunately the truth. When you go to your doctors office very commonly we don't examined to see if your pulses are normal.

All you got to do is remind the physician because we know how to do this but if you don't remind us sometimes it slips through the cracks, so let's show them what we're talking about here. Once we check the pulses, which we're going to do also, normally we'll also check the pressure that generates that pulse, and that ratio is called, the ankle-brachial index.

Ever heard of that phrase? No. Okay, so sit up strongly. Now, let me have this wrist. Good, and I'm going to just feel pulse here. It's going very fast. It is a little fast. Yeah. I'm getting comfortable now. I'm not. All right, so I'm going to put the blood pressure cuff on, now you're going to help me, you're going to read the number off.

Here is how it works. I'm going to blow pressure into this cuff, and I'm going to measure her pulse with my finger. When, I loose the pulse, that's the pressure at which her pulse stops which is a reflection of whether there's blockages in here. If her blood flow's normal it will be a good number, if it's not it won't be so good.

So, let me know okay when I loose your pulse. Right there, what's the number? 165. 165? Yes is that not bad. God I'm going to die on stage. Not good. Wow, I wish it wasn't 165. Do you have high blood pressure? I didn't. All right now lie down here for a second. This will really generate your blood pressure.

Yeah that's perfect, slide over right next to me. No. All right, so here is what we are going to do. Now I've got to measure her pulses and this is how we do it, so you actually put a finger behind, everybody can do it on themselves, put your finger behind the bone on the inside your ankle and you'll feel just what I'm holding here a little pulse.

Now, the moment you feel that pulse, then the doctor can put a pressure cuff on your leg like this. And this is the same thing I did above, I'm going to blow this up, keeping my finger on your pulse, and we're going to see the difference between the blood pressure in the upper body and the lower body.

Now your pressure down here is 190. It's because you're touching me. Now here is the deal, the pressure in your legs actually usually is higher. You know why? Gravity, because the blood is being pushed down by gravity. Now 190 and 165 are too high for you. We'll talk about that after the show.

So, a couple of risk factors real quickly for peripheral arterial disease are being African American because African American have twice the incidents of Caucasians of peripheral vascular disease, smoking, diabetes and having high blood pressure which you might have we'll figure that out and cholesterol are also a figure so what do you do about it?.

Here are changes you can make today. All of us can make right now to prevent peripheral arterial disease. Number one, get rid of the big toxins, smoking, the high cholesterol might be in your blood, high sugar, you know those numbers then get rid of them. We talk about know your five, that is why we want to know those five because out of everything else they help keep us away out from danger.

Getting exercise will also relax the arteries. Number two you want to stop using medications that are over the counter that have many things like pseudoephedrine in them because these actually close your blood vessels down, so worry about that when you have wound healing issues.

And thirdly you want to take care of your feet because what often happens and I've seen this too many times and it pains me to admit it, is that we have people who have just borderline peripheral arterial disease but they don't take care of their feet. So, they get a little infection, they step on a nail, they walk on the shoe that rubs their foot the wrong way, and a little infection starts and the blood vessel's just not enough to keep it going, and we end up amputating their feet.

And I've done that operation too many times and I tell you walk in someone's room and tell them that, and it's a very disheartening event. You've been a wonderful [xx]. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. All right, we'll be right back. Right back.