Peripheral Arterial Disease
LEG PAIN A COMMON COMPLAINT REPORTED TO PHYSICIANS
Leg pain, cramping, swelling, numbness, or skin discoloration are common complaints that physicians hear from their patients. These may be the early signs of arterial disease of the lower extremities. About 33% of the estimated 9 million adults with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) experience physical signs or symptoms of such intensity or frequency that they should seek medical help if they have not already.
Understanding and managing PAD is a process that requires specially trained medical practitioners, who often use special testing equipment to help determine the cause of the symptom. The doctor needs to be aware of the symptoms, sometimes they are very subtle, to help in the early detection of vascular disorders.
Patients will usually go to their GP when they experience episodes of leg pain, cramping, or other signs of leg discomfort. The GP normally refers the patient to a Hospital vascular lab that specializes in the evaluation and management of arterial leg pain. But with new technology, we can now provide a baseline test in our office and still get immediate feedback from specialists. This allows for a quicker diagnosis, less money spent by the patient, and a quicker beginning of therapy and treatment.
Leg pain is caused by many different health disorders. The diagnostic process begins with the practitioner taking a thorough medical history of the patient. Based on that history, the practioner will decide upon a course of action that may include further diagnostic testing.
DIAGNOSING LEG PAIN
Specialized equipment is sometimes called for when diagnosing PAD. A new development in diagnostic technology well suited to Podiatric offices is PADnet, which measures functional status of the limbs by recording segmental blood pressures and segmental blood volume and communicates results immediately via a web interface to specialists for interpretation; these measurements provide practitioners with a clear, measurable sign of what is going on with a patient's lower extremity arterial system. PADnet is actually a group of tests that contributes to the overall diagnostic process. This test has enabled the early diagnosis of vascualr disease (PAD) in thousands of patients.
Dr. Danciger recommends that anyone experiencing leg pain or discomfort should first seek medical advice from his or her physician. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, however, patients should feel comfortable in asking their doctors whether they need a noninvasive vascular test like PADnet.
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