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Poor Circulation Issues Have Become A National Epidemic

Thanks to what has become too much of a couch potato society of people that sit on their computers or in front of their TV sets to watch programming or play video games, poor leg circulation has become a national epidemic. And it is not just sitting around that has created this problem. Along with the normal causes including arthrosclerosis (hardening of the arteries which causes blockages), high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes; people that smoke or are obese are twice as likely to develop circulation problems as those who do not smoke and have less body fat. A recent study also links depression to the disease as a possible cause, although researchers are as yet unsure why that connection exists.

Poor leg circulation is also called peripheral artery disease (PAD) as a medical term and people who suffer from it often experience claudication. That means they experience pain in the leg or legs while walking due to a decreased blood supply to the legs. Recent experiments done by medical researchers show that aspirin might help block the growth of blood vessels that bypass blockages and help get more blood to leg tissue which causes discoloration and can lead to infection. Up to now Plavix has been prescribed to help prevent this problem, but the recent work by Swiss and German medical researchers show that simple aspirin can work just as well or even better.

Symptoms of peripheral artery disease include pain in the muscles of your lower extremities experienced during exercise and persistent leg pain felt when you walk. More serious symptoms include when a limb shows signs of discoloration, if there’s a malignant ulcer or pain is felt when you are at rest. Physicians can sometimes diagnose poor circulation just by giving your leg a visual examination, checking for a pulse or temperature change. Common circulation problems can be treated with statin drugs, diet and lifestyle changes, while more serious cases may require surgical intervention.

Women who develop PAD should be sure to contact their doctor as soon as possible. Studies show that PAD in women can also be a symptom of a serious heart ailment or other health related malady. Among people over the age of sixty-five, at least twelve to twenty percent suffer from peripheral arterial disease with just one-third of that number actually showing outward symptoms. Women in that group are far more likely to suffer from PAD than men without experiencing any symptoms, with fifty to ninety percent having unrecognized symptoms of the disease. That puts them at a much greater risk of developing serious health problems before PAD or its root caused is diagnosed and treated.

A new treatment for PAD is laser ablation. It is a minimally invasive procedure that restores blood flow to the legs and feet. The Food and Drug Administration has approved this treatment method which has successfully prevented amputation in a number of more severe cases. During this procedure the laser produces pulsed bursts of ultraviolet light energy which are capable of gently dissolving plaque and calcium blockages into tiny particles. The majority of these particles are smaller than a red blood cell and are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. The energy is transmitted through flexible glass fibers inside of catheters which are passed through arteries and veins to treat occluded arteries in the legs. This new laser procedure can provide immediate relief of symptoms to PAD patients and requires less recovery time than traditional surgeries.

The best way to help prevent PAD is to eat in moderation pushing away fatty foods, avoid smoking, have your cholesterol checked on a regular basis and get more exercise. Walking and swimming are excellent exercises for all ages. If you do notice the symptoms of PAD or suspect that you may have or be developing this disease, contact your doctor as soon as possible.


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