LUMBERTON – Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, develops when the arteries that supply blood throughout the body become completely or partially blocked.
This blockage by fatty plaque deposits that harden the arteries is called atherosclerosis and dramatically reduces blood flow. The most common type is lower extremity PAD, where there is reduced blood flow to the legs and feet. When left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene or even loss of a limb.
PAD affects nearly 10 million people in the United States and increases their risk of hard-to-heal wounds and associated lower extremity amputations by obstructing circulation to the legs. Although the long-term effects of PAD are serious, an astonishing 40% of people with PAD have no symptoms.
Southeastern Wound Healing Center, a member of the Healogics® Network and affiliated with UNC Health Southeastern, provides specialized wound care and noninvasive testing, including the Ankle-Arm Index Test, which compares blood pressure in the ankles and arm to diagnose PAD, and ultrasound tests to identify blocked arteries.
According to Southeastern Wound Healing Center staff, risk factors for PAD include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, age 65 or older, heart disease, being overweight, family history of PAD or arterial disease and smoking.
Advanced PAD leads to delayed healing and an increased risk of limb loss. Twenty-five percent of people with advanced PAD can undergo amputation within a year. People at risk for PAD should call the South East Healing Center if they develop a wound. Specialized care can reduce healing times, increase healing rates, and significantly reduce the risk of amputation.
For more information on identifying PAD and treating chronic or infected wounds, contact the Southeastern Wound Center located at 103 W. 27th St., Lumberton or call 910-738-3836.