That Pain in Your Leg? Find Out if it’s Peripheral Artery Disease!

Print icon

Imagine yourself walking up the stairs, with the kids or grandkids at the park, down the driveway to get the mail or at the mall. And you start to experience pain or cramping in your leg — or both legs.

It may be barely noticeable, but whether you are over 50 with a history of smoking or diabetes, or over age 70 without this kind of health history, there is a serious disease that could be the cause: peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD.

“PAD involves the narrowing of peripheral arteries in the arms, legs, stomach, and head.” said Patricia K. Bozeman, APRN, from the Hartford HealthCare Medical Group and the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute. “PAD is similar to coronary artery disease in that both conditions are caused by atherosclerosis that narrows and blocks arteries.”

The location of the pain also tells you the general location of the artery that’s narrowed or hardened. Unfortunately, many people dismiss the pain as insignificant or attribute it to aging.

Dismissing it, however, can be deadly.

“Individuals with PAD have a higher risk for coronary artery disease and stroke,” Bozeman said. “If left untreated, PAD may result in complications such as gangrene and subsequent amputation. Although many individuals live with significant degrees of PAD, the condition can suddenly become life-threatening and necessitate emergency intervention.”

Pain in the leg, hip, thigh or calf muscles (called claudication) is one of many possible signs of peripheral artery disease. Others include:

  • Numbness or weakness in the leg.
  • Weak (or no) pulse in the legs or feet.
  • Sores on legs, toes or feet that don’t heal as usual.
  • Cramping with exercise.
  • Discoloration in legs.
  • Temperature in one leg lower than the other.
  • Hair loss (or slower growth) on legs and feet.
  • Poor toenail growth.
  • Coldness in lower leg or foot.

The good news is that PAD can be managed effectively through proper diagnosis and treatment. And there’s a simple, five-minute screening that helps diagnosis it.

“This screening compares the blood pressure in the leg to the blood pressure in the arm,” said Bozeman, who will be conducting such screenings with her colleague, Dr. Akhilesh Jain, at Backus Hospital later this month.

If you are concerned you or someone you know has peripheral artery disease, stop by for a FREE screening at the Healthy Family FunFest on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington/Plantsville. It takes place between 10:30 AM and 3 PM. For more information,  please call 1.855.HHC.HERE (1.855.442.4373).


What's New

Vasectomy Clinic

A March Madness Shocker: It’s the Tallwood Vasectomy Clinic!

FARMINGTON – While you’re laid up on the couch recovering from your vasectomy, you may as well have something fun to watch, right? That seems to be the thought behind a craze dubbed “Vas Madness” in which doctors and healthcare systems see an increase in the number of vasectomy procedures...

Non-Proprietary Medicine pill Bottles

How to Dispose of Prescription Meds, Properly, Without Leaving the House

Here’s a great way to warm up for spring-cleaning season. Retrieve all unused prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, bathroom drawers and your keep-it-away-from-the-kids hiding spot in the kitchen. Wait! Don’t just drop them in the household trashcan. And avoid the convenience of the nearest toilet. The Food and Drug Administration...


Newington WWII Veteran Awarded French Knight of the Legion of Honor

More than seven decades after he served in World War II, John Faenza of Newington has received the highest possible military honor an American can receive from the French people. With his wife, children, friends and former co-workers by his side, the 93-year-old Cedar Mountain Commons resident was awarded an honorary...


Tallwood Men’s Health: Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States and worldwide. For the man who regularly consults with his doctor, however, heart disease and its potentially fatal consequences are usually avoidable. Dr. Waseem Chaudhry is a preventive cardiologist at the Hartford HealthCare Tallwood Men’s Health Center....


Tallwood Men’s Health: A Guy’s Medical Man Cave

The statistics say it all: Men are nearly one-and-a-half times as likely as women to die from almost every chronic medical condition. On average, men live five years less than women, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. But a new program at Hartford HealthCare has been designed to...