September is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month

Sep 9, 2022

Doctors encourage simple screening to avoid non-healing wounds, limb loss

(Nacogdoches, TX) – Hundreds of East Texans suffer from a silent and debilitating disorder called Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD. Those who go untreated could suffer devastating outcomes such as difficult-to-treat wounds, infections and lower-limb amputations. With September being National PAD Awareness Month, the medical teams at Nacogdoches Medical Center (NMC) are working to reverse this trend. NMC doctors specialize in the screening and treatment of PAD using advanced technology and therapies.

For more than 20 years, Kathleen Querry, D.O, with Nacogdoches Medical Center, has specialized in caring for patients with wounds caused by PAD and related illnesses and has served the Nacogdoches community in particular for 10 years. Dr. Querry said that 1 in 5 people over the age of 60 have PAD yet, 40 percent of those living with PAD may not experience symptoms and go on without ever knowing they have it. More than 6 million Americans currently live with PAD and up to 25 percent with late-stage PAD may require an amputation within one year.

“This is disturbing because screening for PAD is a simple, quick process that can be done in our clinic,” Dr. Querry said. PAD develops when the arteries that supply blood throughout the body become completely or partially blocked. This blockage, by fatty plaque deposits that harden arteries, is called atherosclerosis and significantly reduces blood flow to limbs and organs. Not only can this blockage lead to leg amputations, it can also lead to coronary artery disease, stroke and heart attacks,” Dr. Querry said.

Dr. Querry said screening for PAD is a simple, non-invasive test called the ankle-brachial index (ABI), which takes a few minutes and only involves the patient needing to remove his/her socks and shoes. Blood pressure cuffs are placed around the upper arms and ankles. A small ultrasound device will then measure the systolic blood pressure in the limbs. The ABI compares the blood pressure in the arms to the blood pressure in the legs and produces a calculation that helps doctors identify any signs of PAD.

“Once PAD is identified, we can begin treating it and any symptoms of the disease immediately,” Dr. Querry said. “We have a 79 percent comprehensive healing rate for wounds caused by PAD and related disorders. We use advanced modalities including hyperbaric oxygen therapy and advanced wound care products to help heal these types of wounds,” she said.

Both men and woman are affected by PAD, however, African Americans are at an increased risk for the disease. Hispanics may have similar, to slightly higher rates of PAD compared with non-Hispanic white people.

Dr. Querry shared the following risk factors for PAD:

• Diabetes
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Age above 65 years
• Heart disease
• Excessive weight
• Family history of PAD or arterial disease
• Smoking

Dr. Querry said those who may be at risk for PAD or are experiencing symptoms of the disease, should call their doctor immediately. Specialized care can reduce healing times, increase healing rates, and significantly lower amputation risks.

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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