New Year, New You: 5 Tips to Plan for Your Wellness

New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition for many people, and one of the most popular resolutions is to get healthy. Whether you want to lose weight, improve your diet, or increase your physical activity, there are many ways to make your new year’s resolution for getting healthy a reality. Here are some tips for making and sticking to your resolution:

SMART Goals

Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals this will help you stay on track and make progress toward your resolution. For example, rather than resolving to “exercise more,” set a specific goal like “exercise for 30 minutes, three times per week.” Staying physically active by doing regular exercises, such as walking, swimming, or strength training can help improve your balance, flexibility, and strength. To execute your SMART goals, be sure to make a plan. Decide how you will achieve your goals and put your plan into action. This might include finding a workout buddy, signing up for a gym membership, or downloading a fitness app to help you track your progress.

Be Consistent

It’s important to stick to your plan and make healthy choices on a regular basis. This might mean setting aside time for exercise each day or planning healthy meals in advance. Consistency is important when trying to be healthy in the new year because it helps to establish healthy habits and routines. When you are consistent with your healthy behaviors, it becomes easier to stick to your healthy lifestyle over the long term. This is because your body becomes accustomed to healthy habits and it becomes easier to make healthy choices. Additionally, being consistent can help to ensure that you are making progress toward your health goals. When you are consistent, you are more likely to see progress in your health, whether it is weight loss, improved energy levels, or other health benefits.

Be Patient

Change doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. It’s important to be patient and persistent and to celebrate the small victories along the way. It is important to be patient when trying to be healthy in the new year because it takes time for healthy habits to become established and for changes in your health to occur. It is not uncommon for people to want to see quick results when they start making changes to their health, but it’s important to remember that it takes time for these changes to take effect.

Being patient can also help you to be more consistent with your healthy habits. When you are patient and don’t expect immediate results, you are more likely to stay the course and stick to your healthy habits even when you don’t see progress right away. This can help you to build a foundation for long-term health and well-being.

Finally, being patient can help you to avoid getting discouraged or giving up on your health goals. It’s important to remember that progress toward health goals is often slow and incremental, and it’s important to be patient and persistent in order to see long-term results. So, being patient is very important when you are trying to be healthy.

Make Healthy Habits Part of Your Lifestyle

As you work towards your resolution, try to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine. This might mean packing a healthy lunch for work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or going for a walk after dinner.

In living with PAD, a heart-healthy diet can help you control your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes, which may lower your risk Many people with PAD also have underlying health issues that benefit from healthy ways of eating. In general, it is important to eat a diet low in sugar and avoid processed food, focusing on meals that highlight vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Include low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, seeds, and non-tropical vegetable oils like olive oil. Reduce salt, added sugars, and red meat. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight.

By following these tips, you can make your new year’s resolution for getting healthy a success. Remember to be kind to yourself and to celebrate your progress, no matter how small. With determination and a bit of hard work, you can achieve your goals and start the new year off on the right foot.

Seek Support

It can be helpful to enlist the help of friends and family to stay motivated and on track. You could also consider joining a support group or hiring a personal trainer to help you reach your goals. See your doctor regularly to monitor your health and address any potential health issues. This is especially important if you have chronic health conditions. Stay connected with friends and loved ones, and consider joining a senior center or another social group. Social connections can help improve your mental health and well-being.

To learn more about the minimally invasive vascular solutions that Modern Vascular offers or to find answers to your PAD-related problems, you can call (888) 853-1278 or use the online form at ModernVascular.com to request a consultation with a Modern Vascular Patient Advocate.

Learn to Eat Healthy during Holidays

Your Health and the Holidays: What to Eat to Manage Your PAD Symptoms During the Holidays

On average, individuals gain nearly two pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year. People with a BMI over 25 were more at risk for gaining extra weight during the holidays.1Obesity and diabetes are two risk factors for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), and the extra few pounds could increase your PAD symptoms. What can you do to stay healthy this holiday season?

Adapting what you eat and how much you exercise can make a difference in your overall health, blood flow, and PAD symptoms. Are you still interested? Keep reading to learn more about how diet plays a role in PAD and what foods you should start eating this holiday season!

What Is PAD?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects arterial vessels, usually in your lower extremities.2 With PAD, your blood vessels narrow to the point where you could develop blood clots or increase your risk for coronary artery disease. PAD can also limit blood supply, making it difficult for wounds to heal and increasing rates of gangrene or amputation. 

Common PAD Symptoms

The most common PAD symptom is muscle or leg pain. In spite of that, nearly 40% of PAD patients do not have any pain, often making it more challenging to diagnose. Here are other common PAD symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Poor healing wounds
  • Skin discoloration
  • Cool skin or lower temperature
  • Lack of hair growth
  • Reduced pulse

The most common types of PAD symptoms stem from atherosclerosis. When plaque hardens on arterial walls, it reduces pliability and blood flow, causing exercise restriction. Once PAD has progressed to more severe cases, individuals might start noticing neuropathy or pain at rest. 

PAD Symptoms and the Holidays

How can you start staying healthy over the holidays with your PAD? Dieting and exercising play a critical role in PAD symptoms. Following healthy lifestyle changes can reduce your likelihood of developing PAD or manage your symptoms. 

PAD is a vascular condition and is often closely linked to other cardiovascular conditions. The best way to manage PAD symptoms is by following a heart-healthy diet. Studies found that eating foods with high anti-inflammatory markers can reduce PAD risks.3

Some examples of heart-healthy foods with anti-inflammatory benefits are:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Tea
  • Wholegrains
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts

Additionally, one of the best diets you can follow for vascular conditions is the Mediterranean Diet. This particular diet encourages eating healthy fats, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy cooking oils like olive oil. It does not include highly processed foods, sugars, or refined grains.4

Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

Overall, lifestyle modifications are one of the first tools to start managing PAD symptoms. If your PAD symptoms worsen, your vascular specialist may recommend minimally invasive treatments and/or medication. 

Atherectomy, angioplasty, and stent placements are a few options that you can discuss with your specialist. If you don’t know where to start this upcoming holiday season, talk to one of the vascular physicians at Modern Vascular. 

To learn more about how to manage your Peripheral Artery Disease Symptoms during the holidays and beyond, through minimally-invasive vascular solutions that Modern Vascular offers or to find answers to your PAD-related problems, you can call (888) 853-1278 or use the online form at ModernVascular.com to request a consultation with a Modern Vascular Patient Advocate.

You can schedule an evaluation and get started with a healthier life!

  1. Olson K, Coffino JA, Thomas JG, Wing RR. Strategies to manage weight during the holiday season among US adults: A descriptive study from the National Weight Control Registry. Obes Sci Pract. 2020;7(2):232-238. Published 2020 Dec 15. doi:10.1002/osp4.470 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019277/
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 27). Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/PAD.htm
  3. Yuan, S., Bruzelius, M., Damrauer, S. M., Hakansson, N., Wolk, A., Akesson, A., & Larsson, S. C. (2022, April 9). Anti-inflammatory diet and incident peripheral artery disease: Two prospective cohort studies. Define_me. Retrieved November 14, 2022, from https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(22)00114-5/fulltext
  4. Gunnars, K. (2021, October 25). Mediterranean diet 101: Meal plan, foods list, and tips. Healthline. Retrieved November 14, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan#what-is-it
National Diabetes Awareness Month

National Diabetes Awareness Month

The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, the American Diabetes Association (ADA), established November as National Diabetes Awareness Month in 1975. It’s not only a chance to highlight the management of diabetes, but also drive the awareness to Peripheral Artery Disease, (PAD) since diabetes is one of the prevalent risk factors for the disease. 

This month is of course a time when diabetes organizations of all sizes launch awareness efforts, initiatives, and campaigns, many of them encouraging people with diabetes to come forward to share their stories about living with this condition with the general public. 

According to WebMD, About 20%-30% of people diagnosed with PAD also have diabetes. The real number may be even higher due to asymptomatic tendencies for Peripheral Artery Disease. 

Here are some key risk factors of to be be cognizant of if you are living with diabetes:

  • Age (Your risk jumps from 20% at age 40 to 29% at age 50)
  • How long you’ve been living with diabetes
  • Nerve damage
  • Ethnicity (Latinx/Latine and Black/African Americans people with diabetes are at higher risk)
  • Family history of Heart Disease or PAD

Some risk factors that you have more control over include:

  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol

How Can You Lower Your PAD Risk?

Steps you take to protect yourself from PAD are similar to those that help your overall heart health. They include:

  • Get your blood sugar under control 
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Ask your Doctor about aspirin for blood flow
  • Regular Exercise
  • Eat a well balanced healthy diet

PAD is a chronic, and at times a lifestyle-limiting disease. If left untreated it can lead to amputation or even death. Due to the increased risk of PAD based on both hereditary and variables within manageable control by patients, the first step is education.

Please check out these three blogs related to Diabetes and PAD: 

The Connection Between Diabetes & Peripheral Artery Disease 

Diabetic Coordination of Care 

How Diabetes Can Lead to Amputation 

To learn more about how to manage your symptoms of PAD through minimally-invasive vascular solutions that Modern Vascular offers or to find answers to your diabetes or PAD-related problems, you can call (888) 853-1278 or use the online form at ModernVascular.com to request a consultation with a Modern Vascular Patient Advocate. 

Sources: 

American Diabetes Month. American Diabetes Month | ADA. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://diabetes.org/get-involved/community/american-diabetes-month  

Team, D. M. (2021, November 1). November is diabetes awareness month and world diabetes day! Healthline. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/november-diabetes-awareness-month#diabetes-awareness-month  

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). National Diabetes Month 2022. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/community-health-outreach/national-diabetes-month  

WebMD. (n.d.). Peripheral artery disease and diabetes. WebMD. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/peripheral-artery-disease-diabetes#:~:text=Diabetes%20affects%20the%20lining%20around,risk%20of%20PAD%20go%20up

Marso, S. P., & Hiatt, W. R. (2006, February 9). Peripheral arterial disease in patients with diabetes. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109705028627

PAD Compression Socks

Compression Socks & PAD

What are Compression Socks?

Did you know that more than 6.5 million people in the United States over the age of 401 have peripheral artery disease? For many patients with PAD, exercising, dieting and quitting tobacco use are some of the ways you can manage symptoms.

Another beneficial way to reduce symptoms is by using compression socks. During the early stages of PAD, these socks are often used for varicose veins, swelling, and mild pain. Unfortunately, not every patient with the disease is a candidate to use them. 

Before you determine if compression socks are right for you, here’s more on what to know and how talk to a vascular specialist today.

What Is PAD?

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a vascular condition where narrowed arteries cause reduced blood flow to the lower extremities. Typically, patients have minimal to no symptoms in the primary stages of PAD. However, if untreated for long periods, it can result in severe pain.

One of the main causes of PAD is atherosclerosis (excessive plaque that can cause hardened arteries and poor blood flow). Also common for individuals with PAD is coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol.

Are Compression Socks for PAD Effective?

As the name sounds, compression socks or compression stockings improve blood flow through the lower extremities. This helps to prevent leg swelling and, in some cases, blood clots. Depending on the measurement of the legs and the necessary compression required to recirculate blood flow, a specialist will make a recommendation on the strength and size that’s right for you. 

These stockings provide support, generated through concentrated pressure around the ankle. After the material widens up the calf to the knee, it then releases pressure allowing blood to flow to the heart. Patients can benefit from these socks by receiving relief through 3 reduced swelling further alleviating some of the feelings of heaviness or achiness. 

Can You Wear Compression Socks for Severe PAD?

Compression Socks are not for everyone and not recommended if you have severe PAD. For example, studies have found that PAD patients are at a higher risk for venous thromboembolism2 which is a condition that can form blood clots through the veins. This is more pronounced in individuals with a low ankle brachial index. Patients who suffer from this condition while wearing compression socks can worsen symptoms resulting in pain at rest, neuropathy, or poor wound healing.

Managing Your PAD

Only wear these specialized socks after approval and appropriate measurement from a vascular specialist because Effects from misuse of compression socks could indicate significant blood vessel blockage should be avoided. 

PAD symptoms can be manageable allowing the freedom of movement. Therefore, to better understand what lifestyle changes you can make to manage your PAD, you can speak to one of our Vascular Specialists here at Modern Vascular. Schedule an evaluation today to get started!

Sources

Sykora, D. Et. Al (2021, November 8). Abstract 9193: Peripheral artery disease and the risk of venous thromboembolism. Circulation. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/circ.144.suppl_1.9193

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 27). Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/PAD.htm#:~:text=Approximately%206.5%20million%20people%20age,the%20United%20States%20have%20PAD.&text=Other%20health%20conditions%20and%20disorders,PAD%20is%20due%20to%20atherosclerosis.  

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Compression stockings: Medlineplus medical encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000597.htm  

Dry foot heel with fissures

What are Foot Fissures?

Did you know that adults need to walk an average of 10,000 steps daily to lose weight and stay healthy? Keeping active is even more important when you have problems with diabetes or vascular disease.

However, these conditions also come with problems like foot fissures. These painful cracks make it difficult to keep active and can also cause a serious infection if they’re left untreated. Therefore, it’s essential to understand more about them so you can get the treatment you need to get moving again.

Keep reading this guide to learn everything you need to know about foot fissures.

Foot fissures or heel fissures are cracks in the skin that typically occur on your heels. The skin on your heel becomes hard and dry, and you’ll also notice that your skin is flaky and crusty. Fissures or cracks can begin to form when your skin gets too dry.

Symptoms of Foot Fissures 

The signs and symptoms of heel fissures can vary, depending on their severity. Most of the time, you’ll experience symptoms like:

  • Visible splitting and cracking of the skin on your heels
  • Thickening of the skin around the fissures
  • Yellow or brown skin discoloration around a callused area

The symptoms can become more severe if you don’t treat heel fissures early on. This leads to symptoms such as bleeding, pain with walking, and open wounds or ulcers on your heels. As a result, a painful skin infection known as cellulitis can occur.

Causes of Foot Fissures

Heel fissures are common in people who have diabetes. This is because diabetes affects circulation and damages the nerves in your feet. As a result, your feet will feel less sensitive to pain, and deep, painless ulcers can form.

Other common causes of foot fissures include:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Poor circulation due to peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Poor nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis
  • Walking or standing for long periods

How to Heal Foot Fissures

If you have mild fissures, you can try at-home treatments to moisturize and soften your skin. 

First, you’ll need to buy a hydrating cleanser that contains hyaluronic acid or lanolin. Plant oils like aloe vera and olive oil are also suitable for dry skin. Soak your feet in warm water with the cleanser for at least 10 minutes.

Pat your feet dry, then use a pumice stone or a foot scrub brush to remove the dead skin from your feet gently. Finally, apply a layer of petroleum jelly or thick moisturizer and put socks on before you go to bed.

To prevent foot fissures, you’ll need to avoid wearing open-healed shoes and walking barefoot on hard surfaces. You’ll also need to moisturize your feet daily.

Medical Treatments

For more severe foot fissures, you’ll need to see an experienced doctor or a podiatrist for treatment. An experienced wound care doctor can prescribe medications and perform wound care like debridement. Wound debridement involves the removal of dead tissue from a wound.

If you have pain in your legs, wounds that are slow to heal, or other health conditions like diabetes, you might have problems with your circulation. It’s a good idea to take a peripheral artery disease (PAD) assessment quiz to determine your risks.   

Get Help With Your Foot Fissures Today

Now that you understand more about foot fissures, you can start taking steps toward healing and improving your overall health and well-being.

Remember, it takes time to heal fissures, and sometimes you need expert help. You won’t need to look any further than Modern Vascular for your wound care treatments.

We specialize in treating non-healing wounds of the lower legs and feet due to diabetic foot ulcers, vascular disease, burns, and more.

Our team of professionals looks forward to helping you, so make sure you contact us today to discuss your symptoms.

elderly woman in bed with leg pain

What is Rest Pain?

What’s the Deal with Pain at Rest & Critical Limb Ischemia?

One of the common symptoms that patients experience during their Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) journey is rest pain. In the beginning stages of PAD, rest pain is identified as a burning sensation of the lower extremities; the legs, feet, or toes. This is caused by a lack of blood flow through the arteries when at rest or when the lower extremities are elevated.

In most cases rest pain has shown to be the result of certain health conditions such as diabetes as well as lifestyle choices such as a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and unhealthy diet. Usually, pain at rest disappears as a result of walking due to gravity restarting the blood circulation. Many of those who suffer from these symptoms will often have difficulty having a full night’s rest or being comfortable lifting their feet on an ottoman or sit back on a reclining chair.

When does it become a serious issue?

Though rest pain is an early sign of PAD, many patients still ignore it. Those who experience this type of pain may assume that it is expected in old age or a different ailment that is not as serious as PAD. Cramping or aching in the limbs occurs more frequently with age. However, constant rest pain is a sure sign of developing PAD. In fact, continuous rest pain is a major indicator that a patient is developing an advanced form of PAD known as Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI). CLI is a severe reduction of blood flow through the arteries of your extremities. A quarter of patients diagnosed with CLI are likely to go through an amputation within the first year of diagnosis. 1  

What can you do to help?

PAD is a chronic condition that may be persistent in you or a loved one’s life. Spreading awareness is always the first step to helping your community detect these symptoms of PAD. When someone close to you is experiencing these symptoms, remind them to start by seeing their primary care physician. Walking programs can relieve some symptoms, but symptoms like rest pain can remain constant and grow worse. It is worth seeing a specialist in the field of arterial disease.

To learn more about how to prevent any further damage to the limbs through minimally-invasive vascular solutions that Modern Vascular offers or to find answers to your PAD-related problems, you can call (888) 853-1278 or use the online form at ModernVascular.com to request a consultation with a Modern Vascular Patient Advocate.

Sources:

1. Creager, et al., Reducing nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations by 20% by 2030: Time to get to our feet: A policy statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Retrieved October 5, 2022.

Learning From the Past: The Differences in PAD Based on Gender Women smiling Modern Vascular

Learning From the Past: Differences in PAD Based on Gender

By Kirstin Rizk

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide[1] and has been the leading cause of death in the U.S. for over a century.[2] Originally, it was largely thought of as a man’s disease, and researchers did not consider if it might affect women differently from men. Ultimately, it was identified that “Women had an increased risk of hospital death, reinfarction, heart failure, stroke, and transfusion,” yet, were less likely to receive lifesaving and preventative treatment.2 

Now that the medical community is aware of the differences in the ways that heart disease and heart attacks present in women, progress is being made to ensure that women are aware of their risk and treatment is equal.

In recent years, progressive physicians have been looking at peripheral artery disease (PAD) and wondering if history is repeating itself.

Dr. Paul Rochon, managing physician at Modern Vascular in Denver, stated, “PAD has traditionally been identified as a male-dominant disease; however, recent population trends and studies in PAD suggest that women are affected at least as often as men.”[3]

Dr. Rochon and coauthor Dr. Kristofer Schramm did a review of existing research on this topic to see if they could form some conclusions from the data when looked at all together.


Differences in PAD in Men and Women


1. While risk of PAD increases with age, this factor seems to have an even greater impact on women. Women over 85 were 12% more likely to have PAD than men over 85.[4]

The Takeaway: Everyone over 55 should be screened annually for PAD, but women should take extra care to get their annual screening.

2. Women are more likely to have PAD without any symptoms.[5]In fact, up to 63% of elderly females with PAD demonstrated no leg symptoms during exercise.[6], [7]

The Takeaway: Even if you don’t have leg pain during exercise, you may be at a higher risk for heart attack or stroke due to PAD that you can’t feel.

3. Yet, women are twice as likely to have unusual leg symptoms (other than leg pain) when exercising.6, [8]

The Takeaway: Much like with heart attacks, PAD presents differently in men and women. For this reason, it is harder for patients and physicians who don’t specialize in PAD to recognize PAD in women.


Additionally, treatment of PAD and related outcomes differ for women and men:


1. Women are significantly less likely than men to receive a surgical revascularization procedure.[9]

The takeaway: don’t be afraid to advocate for your health.

2. In patients with critical limb ischemia (a severe, limb-threatening form of PAD) who were treated with open surgery/peripheral bypass, women have a higher incidence of wound complications, limb loss, and mortality than men.[10]

The Takeaway: Open surgery sometimes is necessary, but should be avoided if possible to save the limb in other ways.

3. Women showed higher rates of improved circulation in the legs from balloon angioplasty or stenting alone than men did and also had higher rates of preventing amputation after balloon angioplasty.[11] Additionally, limb salvage was significantly greater for females at all time points in the PTA group.

The takeaway: Because open surgery shows more complications in women than men, and endovascular approach shows better blood flow after intervention in women than in men, an endovascular approach should be the first line of treatment for PAD in women, before more invasive treatment methods.


These conclusions lead us to the same recommendations that are pillars of PAD Awareness Month:


-Patient and physician education of PAD (and how it affects both men and women) is of the utmost importance.

-Consistent, annual screening is extremely important, especially for groups that are likely to have PAD without any symptoms.

-A minimally invasive approach first is best and safest for all patients, but perhaps especially important for women.


[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4830a1.htm#:~:text=Heart%20disease%20has%20been% 20the,approximately%2040%25%20of%20all%20deaths.

[3] Schramm K, Rochon PJ. Gender Differences in Peripheral Vascular Disease. Semin Intervent Radiol. 2018 Mar;35(1):9-16. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1636515. Epub 2018 Apr 5. PMID: 29628610; PMCID: PMC5886764.

[4] Diehm C, Schuster A, Allenberg JR, et al. High prevalence of peripheral arterial disease and co-morbidity in 6880 primary care patients: cross-sectional study. Atherosclerosis 2004;172(01):95–105

[5] Sigvant B, Wiberg-Hedman K, Bergqvist D, et al. A population based study of peripheral arterial disease prevalence with special focus on critical limb ischemia and sex differences. J Vasc Surg 2007;45(06):1185–1191

[6] McDermott MM, Greenland P, Liu K, et al. The ankle brachial index is associated with leg function and physical activity: the Walking and Leg Circulation Study. Ann Intern Med 2002;136(12):873–883

[7] McDermott MM, Fried L, Simonsick E, Ling S, Guralnik JM. Asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease is independently associated with impaired lower extremity functioning: the women’s health and aging study. Circulation 2000;101(09):1007–1012

[8] McDermott MM, Greenland P, Liu K, et al. Sex differences in peripheral arterial disease: leg symptoms and physical functioning. J Am Geriatr Soc 2003;51(02):222–228

[9] Lancaster RT, Conrad MF, Patel VI, Cambria RP, LaMuraglia GM. Predictors of early graft failure after infrainguinal bypass surgery: a risk-adjusted analysis from the NSQIP. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg 2012;43(05):549–555

[10] Nguyen LL, Brahmanandam S, Bandyk DF, et al. Female gender and oral anticoagulants are associated with wound complications in lower extremity vein bypass: an analysis of 1404 operations for critical limb ischemia. J Vasc Surg 2007;46(06):1191–1197

[11] Gallagher KA, Meltzer AJ, Ravin RA, et al. Gender differences in outcomes of endovascular treatment of infrainguinal peripheral artery disease. Vasc Endovascular Surg 2011;45(08):703–711

Patient Story: Keeping Veterans on Their Feet

Patient Stories: Keeping Veterans on Their Feet

Written By Kirstin Rizk

Seventy-year-old U.S. Army Veteran and former police officer, Paul Kaminski, was still mourning the loss of his wife of nearly 50 years when he started having pain while walking. He’d have to pause at his mailbox to let his calf muscles recover before heading back inside. He had given up golf. When his daughter would invite him to his granddaughter’s swim meets or theatre performances, the first thing he would have to ask was, “How far is it from where I can park?”

Once his pain began interfering in his ability to be present for his granddaughter’s big moments, he decided that he would not be passive while pain limited his life. He visited his primary care doctor at the Veteran Affairs office, and she told him that he likely had peripheral artery disease (PAD) and recommended that he start a walking routine to strengthen his collateral blood vessels. While exercise can be an effective treatment for PAD, Paul’s PAD was past that point. He could hardly walk to the mailbox without severe pain and cramping – walking to force blood through weak collaterals was definitely out of the question.

“I couldn’t make my doctor understand, that’s how bad my pain was,” Paul explained, “it was very limiting.”

After seeing an advertisement for Modern Vascular’s endovascular specialists performing limb-saving procedures with cutting-edge technology, Paul knew this might be his chance to get his PAD treated and relieve his pain.

“Going to Modern Vascular was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life,” Paul said.

The team at Modern Vascular in Houston confirmed the diagnosis of PAD and performed an angiogram where they discovered the arteries of both legs were almost completely blocked. They immediately took action, clearing the arteries of his legs and placing stents to keep them open.

Paul felt nothing during his procedure and felt supported the entire time he was in the clinic. “The people there, the staff, the doctor, they are all just wonderful people to talk to, very informative, very enlightening,” he said. “And, you know, I am back swinging a golf club a day or two after the revascularization.”

Paul talked about the difficulty of losing his beloved wife of nearly 50 years and then encountering this new pain while walking shortly after. He continued, “And then to have people like the people at Modern Vascular take on another part of life which was not good and to have an organization like this do what they did is just a fairytale… They basically are honoring our veterans in that manner… I mean, brings tears to an old man’s eyes.

Thanks to Modern Vascular of Houston, Paul is once more playing golf, hunting, fishing, and most importantly, attending all of his granddaughter’s events without being limited by PAD.

“It was almost like a rebirth,” Paul said. “I mean, I was so totally limited two days prior, and now I can do anything I want to do.”

To learn more about the non-invasive vascular solutions that Modern Vascular offers or to find answers to your PAD-related problems, you can call (888) 853-1278 or use the online form at ModernVascular.com to request a consultation with a Modern Vascular Patient Advocate.

PAD Awareness Month 2022 Revascularization Blog

With PAD, Awareness is Just the Start: Taking Control of Your PAD

By Kirstin Rizk

September kicks off Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month so we are sparking conversations about preventing and controlling PAD. In this post, we hope to increase awareness of disease management methods for patients who already know they have PAD.

With PAD, arteries in the feet and legs are too clogged to deliver a healthy supply of blood to the tissues of the legs and feet. In mild to moderate PAD, though it can be slightly painful, the first course of treatment is usually a walking plan because it reinforces “collateral” pathways for blood to travel if it cannot make its way through the main arteries because they are too clogged. Walking increases heart rate and blood pressure for the duration of exercise which helps to reinforce these naturally made bypasses. Continuing a walking plan strengthens these collaterals and it gets less painful to walk.

However, with PAD that is further advanced, the collaterals are also too clogged to provide enough blood supply to keep muscles in the calves and feet oxygenated. Pushing through the pain during walking is too painful and likely fruitless because the main arteries and collateral arteries are all far too occluded to maintain the high oxygen demand of walking.

When this occurs, it’s very difficult for the patient because it feels like their health is taken out of their control. They can’t exercise, maintain a healthy heart rate or weight, and are often forced to give up outdoor hobbies they love. This process can be equally detrimental to mental health as it is for physical health.

Unable to make much headway on managing their PAD with diet and medication alone, Modern Vascular then recommends a revascularization procedure. It gives Modern Vascular physicians immense pride to do an outpatient procedure and have the patient home again the same day with their autonomy back. After a revascularization procedure, the arteries of the legs have been cleared, sometimes stents are placed, and blood is once again pumping adequately through the legs and feet.

After revascularization, patients can begin walking/exercising again which maintains their newly opened arteries. Between the ability to exercise again and implementing a heart-healthy diet low in fats and simple sugars, patients can take control of their own health again. Finally, patients have their autonomy back and no longer feel helpless in their own health.

A case study representing this: Geoffrey Potts loved woodworking, hunting, fishing, biking, and walking. When Geoff began experiencing PAD symptoms around 2014, the distance he could walk through the pain got shorter and shorter until he had to give up his outdoor hobbies. He didn’t feel like his health was something he had any control over. Finally, in 2021, he saw Dr. Juan Carlos Correa at Modern Vascular in Kansas City. Dr. Correa finally solved the problem keeping Geoff from doing the things he loved. After his revascularization procedure, Geoff’s pain was so significantly improved and he returned to his favorite outdoor pastimes with such fervor that he lost 60 lbs. Geoff is a perfect example of someone who, thanks to a revascularization procedure, could take his health back into his hands.

Whether a PAD patient’s disease is severe enough to have an endovascular intervention or not, it is important to remember that PAD is a lifelong disease. Patients with PAD should have follow-up appointments with their vascular specialist every year or as often as their specialist suggests.

Dr. Jean-Baptiste's patient from Modern Vascular in San Antonio shares his PAD story.

Patient Stories: “No Longer Bedridden at 27”

Written By Kirstin Rizk

Christian Schott is a patient of Dr. Jean-Baptiste.

At 27, Christian stands apart from Modern Vascular’s usual demographic: patients typically middle age or older. Yet Christian’s symptoms were among the most severe, resulting in three or four emergency room visits over the last few years before finally receiving treatment for his excruciating foot pain.

As a custodian, Christian spends a lot of time on his feet. So, when he began to experience bouts of terrible foot pain about three years ago, his life and work were both majorly disrupted. With seemingly no cause, he would wake up, try to stand, and immediately fall to the ground from the pain. He added, “Usually, I would just wake up with it and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m going to be bedridden, I can’t move or walk at all today.’”

His primary care doctor and the doctors at the emergency room suspected Christian’s pain was being caused by gout, a type of inflammatory arthritis, and said that the pain would go away in a few days. Perhaps because Christian doesn’t fit the typical demographic for peripheral artery disease, this potential cause of his pain was ruled about before being considered.

Finally, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Reyes referred Christian to Modern Vascular. Christian explained, “I was very blessed. Everyone was super nice and understanding and for the first time I didn’t get ‘it’s gout, we don’t know what to do,’ it was ‘let’s order a few tests, let’s try this, are you okay if we try this?’ Before they would even touch my foot or anything else they would be like, ‘Do I have permission to try to move this around?’… I felt really loved and taken care of when I was there.”

During his evaluation, Modern Vascular’s specialists checked the capillary refill in Christian’s feet. This test is easy and painless: a squeeze on the foot or toe, and count the seconds until the color returns. It should not take more than 2 seconds.[1] For Christian, it was 7 seconds.

This showed that Christian’s foot was not receiving enough blood flow, due to narrowing or blocking of the arteries in his legs. This could explain why, as Christian described, his foot could “turn any color from purple, blue, sometimes even a little green or black.” It could also explain why sometimes his pain was so bad he had to crawl to the bathroom to avoid putting pressure on his foot.

Christian was recommended for procedure at Modern Vascular. Of his experience during the procedure, he said, “they told me what they would do before they did it, like what to expect, just all the things that you want to hear when you have a procedure or go to a doctor’s office.”

A few days after his procedure, Christian’s foot already felt lighter. He has not experienced the debilitating pain that used to occur every month or month and a half since his procedure. Christian is on schedule to see a rheumatologist soon to ensure that he is not additionally having joint-related issues, but there is no doubt that his severe peripheral artery disease was complicating, if not outright causing, his debilitating pain. Thankfully, he is now on track to live the pain-free and healthy life that a 27-year-old should be.


[1] Sansone CM, Prendin F, Giordano G, Casati P, Destrebecq A, Terzoni S. Relationship between Capillary Refill Time at Triage and Abnormal Clinical Condition: A Prospective Study. Open Nurs J. 2017 Jul 26;11:84-90. doi: 10.2174/1874434601711010084. PMID: 28839512; PMCID: PMC5543682.

Patient Stories: Leonard Whitworth Modern Vascular in Southaven Dr. Leschak

Patient Stories: “I feel like a brand new man.”

By Kirstin Rizk

Leonard Whitworth, 63, had been experiencing terrible, unpredictable cramping in his legs and feet for 20 years. When asked about what brought on the pain, Leonard said, “it could be sitting in my chair watching tv, it could be driving down the road, it could be walking through a grocery store or at my job, it would just come on.”

The pain would even wake Leonard up in the middle of the night. He recounts, “I would have to get up and walk the cramp out of the bottom of my feet a couple times a night, about 3-4 times a week. It would hurt so bad it would bring tears to my eyes.”

For 20 years, Leonard attributed his leg and foot pain to getting older and working on his feet for much of his life. He described these terrible cramps recently when he visited a podiatrist. He also explained another symptom he was having: His feet were so cold that he wore battery-operated heated socks. He recalls, “I had to wear one on my right foot even if it were 90 degrees out.” Because of these symptoms and a heart attack and stroke, Leonard experienced two years before, his podiatrist knew that he was at risk for peripheral artery disease and referred him to Modern Vascular.

After evaluating Leonard, it was clear to Dr. Stephen Leschak and his team that Leonard had significant blockage of the blood flow in his legs. What made Leonard’s case even more tricky was an injury he had as a child. At 12, Leonard’s dad was doing construction on a house while Leonard helped on the roof. Young Leonard made a mistake that caused him to jump off, where he landed on a glass beer bottle. The injury was so severe that he nearly lost his foot. 51 years later, this made it more complicated to clear blockages in the arteries of that same foot.

The first time I spoke with Leonard, it was a few weeks after the procedure on his right leg. When asked about his experience getting a procedure from Dr. Leschak, Leonard says, “I feel like a brand new man… I can’t say enough about how much they’ve done for me. I’ve been in pain for a long time and now my right leg is 100%. I can’t wait to get the other one done.”

A few weeks later, I checked in with Leonard the day after his procedure on the left leg. He said, “my foot’s not cold, the cramping went away, I couldn’t ask for anything better.” In fact, he was returning to work the day after our conversation, where he works on his feet all day as a manager.

Leonard summed up his experience at Modern Vascular in Southaven saying, “Couldn’t ask for a better staff than you have right there. From the moment I went in, in the surgery, all of it.”

Finally, I asked him if he still uses his battery-operated heated socks. “No,” Leonard said, “I put them away and we’re getting rid of them. My feet stay warm.”

I also asked if his sleep has improved, and was happy to hear that now Leonard actually has to use an alarm clock, since his foot pain no longer wakes him up.

Check out Leonard’s Patient Testimonial:

https://modernvascular.com/clinics/southaven/

What Your Leg Pain Can Mean

What Your Leg Pain Could Mean

Leg pain is a common complaint of many people that could be caused by injuries or overexertion. But what happens when the pain is more severe or doesn’t go away? Here are some of the most common reasons people may experience leg pain. If your leg pain is severe or long-lasting, contact your doctor.

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease is one of the more serious causes of leg pain. The arteries that bring blood to your limbs can become inflamed and stiff, which can cause leg pain when exercising or getting up from a seated position. If caught early enough, you may be able to prevent permanent damage by taking medication or going through physical therapy.

Atherosclerosis

Peripheral artery disease is a condition caused by atherosclerosis in the peripheral arteries. Atherosclerosis is when the walls of the arteries harden and the blood vessels narrow. Arteries are the blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to your body, including your leg muscles. These blockages can be especially dangerous in the leg arteries because it makes it difficult for oxygenated blood to reach your feet.

Some conditions that contribute to atherosclerosis are high cholesterol, obesity, and other factors that increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. If you have diabetes or a family history of this condition, you should be particularly cautious.

Peripheral artery disease can lead to tissue damage and even amputation, so if you are experiencing the symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Healthy lifestyle changes can decrease your risk of developing peripheral artery disease. These include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. Moderate activity such as walking lowers your risk by helping keep your arteries flexible. There are also some treatments available. Minimally invasive endovascular procedures are an option that has fewer risks involved and a quicker recovery time than other procedures.

Venous Insufficiency

Venous insufficiency is when the blood vessels become enlarged due to blood pooling because of issues with pumping blood back to the heart. It is common in people who have jobs that require prolonged standing and those who are pregnant. Varicose veins are venous insufficiency in the superficial veins, such as the legs, hands, or face.

Treatments for venous insufficiency include elevating legs while sleeping, compression stockings, and other lifestyle changes like exercise and weight loss. Venous insufficiency can cause discomfort or aching pain. Contact your doctor if you have pain or a significant number of varicose veins.

Studies have shown a correlation between varicose veins and heart disease. Varicose veins can be indicative of cardiovascular disease. You should consult with your doctor to determine if your leg pain is due to this condition.

Shin Splints

Shin splints can be caused by overuse or repetitive stress on the shin bone or a traumatic injury to the tibia.

Shin splints are a common diagnosis among runners, but it has many other causes. People who have had long periods of inactivity should consult their doctor to determine if they may have shin splints.

The condition is cured by resting and decreasing the intensity of your activity. You can also wear a brace or other equipment to support your legs and help relieve the stress on your shins.

Sciatica

Leg pain can also be caused by a condition known as sciatica, which is an inflammation of the sciatic nerve. It occurs when the nerve becomes irritated from pressure or irritation on one side of the body. Sciatica can be caused by back pain, an injury or infections in the area where it travels, and even a tumor or herniated disc in your spine.

Sciatica can be temporary or chronic, which means it is not curable with medication and will last for an extended period. Typically, patients will experience acute sciatica in which the pain comes and goes. Chronic sciatica can lead to permanent nerve damage. It is more common among older people and those with multiple medical conditions like diabetes or arthritis.

Leg pain is usually worse when lying down or getting up from a seated position for people suffering from sciatica. Patients with sciatica should stay as active as possible to relieve stress on the nerve and help prevent long-term nerve damage.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, brought on by inflammation of the cartilage that supports your joints. The cause of osteoarthritis is typically overuse or repeated stress on your knee joint.

Osteoarthritis usually occurs in both knees on both sides but can be painful in any joint and may affect only one or two joints. Osteoarthritis can also occur in other joints, but symptoms may not be as severe. Symptoms are typically less acute than those associated with osteoarthritis in the knee.

Osteoarthritis is most common in people over 50 years old, but it can also occur among younger people that have obesity, diabetes, or who have experienced a traumatic injury.

Osteoarthritis treatment options include changing lifestyle habits, taking medications, or a total knee replacement. There is also a minimally invasive procedure called Genicular Artery Embolization that can reduce osteoarthritis knee pain. It blocks capillaries from supplying blood to the inflamed tissue that causes knee pain.

Conclusion

Now you know some sources of leg pain. Some of the causes of leg pain are more severe than others. If you have severe or prolonged leg pain, you should see a doctor. If you think that you have peripheral artery disease, osteoarthritis, or venous insufficiency, contact Modern Vascular and speak to a patient advocate about the symptoms that you are experiencing.

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