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June 4, 2008 > Leg Pain Could Be Due to Hardening of the Arteries

Leg Pain Could Be Due to Hardening of the Arteries

Washington Hospital Seminar and Screening Aimed at Prevention

If you suffer from leg pain or circulation problems, you could have peripheral vascular disease (PVD). It is caused by a narrowing or hardening of the arteries that carry blood to the legs, arms, stomach or kidneys.
"PVD causes pain in the legs when you walk," said Dr. Ash Jain, a cardiologist at Washington Hospital. "The pain should stop soon after you sit down if you have PVD."
Jain will present an upcoming PVD seminar with Dr. John T. Mehigan, a vascular surgeon at Washington Hospital, titled "Learn About Blood Flow in the Legs." The seminar is scheduled for Monday, June 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. Jain and Mehigan will provide a PVD screening on Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which will measure blood flow in the leg and foot and screen for risk factors. Both the seminar and screening will be held at the Conrad E. Anderson, MD Auditorium at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, in Fremont. You must sign up for the screening in advance. To register for both the seminar and screening, call (800) 963-7070.
The seminar will provide an overview of PVD and how it affects the brain, neck, stomach, kidney and legs, as well as treatment options. Participants will learn how to recognize PVD and ways to prevent it.
With PVD, fatty deposits build up in the inner lining of the artery walls, restricting blood flow. When an artery is blocked or narrowed, the part of the body supplied by that artery does not get enough blood and oxygen.
People with PVD are also likely to have blocked arteries in other areas of the body, which means they are at higher risk for heart disease, aneurysms, and stroke.
The most common symptom of PVD is a painful cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs or exercising. Symptoms can also include numbness and tingling in the lower legs and feet, cold lower legs and feet, and ulcers or sores on the legs or feet that don't heal.
Pain Occurs in Muscles Not Joints
Unfortunately, many people assume the pain is just a normal part of aging and never mention it to their doctors. You may think it's due to arthritis or stiffness in the legs from getting older. But PVD leg pain occurs in the muscles not the joints.
Those with diabetes sometimes confuse the pain with peripheral neuropathy, a common symptom of diabetes that is a burning or painful discomfort in the feet or thighs.
The seminar will cover a number of treatment options, including lifestyle changes, medications and medical procedures that actually open up the arteries. Lifestyle changes are critical to reducing your risk of PVD and slowing the progression of the disease, including quitting smoking, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
People with leg pain or one or more of the risk factors for PVD should be screened for the disease. Risk factors include:
* A family history of vascular diseases such as PVD, heart attack or stroke
* High cholesterol or high lipid blood test
* Diabetes
* Current or former smoker
* Overweight
* High blood pressure
To learn more about PVD and find out if you are at risk, call (800) 963-7070 to register for the upcoming seminar and screening.
For more information about other Washington Hospital programs and services, visit

Upcoming Seminar: Learn How to Lower Your Blood Pressure
Do you have high blood pressure? If so, you might be at risk for a heart attack and stroke as well as other serious medical problems. At an upcoming Health & Wellness seminar titled: Learn How to Lower Your Blood Pressure, Dr. Ash Jain will explain how you can lower your blood pressure.
Date: Tuesday, June 17
Time: 1 to 3 p.m.
Speakers: Ash Jain, M.D. and Doug Van Houten, R.N.
Where: Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A & B
Call: (800) 963-7070 to register

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