LEARNING ABOUT PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE

Aug 26th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

Mysterious Leg Pain

My mother-in-law, age 92, has leg pain that is difficult to manage. She was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy several years ago.  I’m just now learning it has a new name… Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).  I’m also just now learning it affects over eight million Americans, 12 to 20 percent over the age of 65.  This AARP article has some very good information about PAD.


Mother is not very mobile anymore, preferring to navigate in her wheel chair more than using her walker.  I’m learning her walker is probably better for her, because walking exercise is one of the best treatments for PAD. However, this malicious disease renders the extremities (especially legs) numb, and weakness in muscles is the result.  Eventually the muscles do not carry enough strength for the elderly one to stand or walk.

PAD Symptoms

The Mayo Clinic says these are the major symptoms of PAD:

  • Painful cramping in your hip, thigh or calf muscles after activity, such as walking or climbing stairs
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • Coldness in your lower leg or foot
  • Sores on your toes, feet or legs that won’t heal
  • A change in the color of your legs
  • Leg pain that disrupts sleep, but is relieved by walking around
  • Slower growth of your toenails
  • Shiny skin on your legs

A report published in the Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease Journal indicated both aspirin and walking exercise was helpful in treating PAD.  A Health Day article about the report quoted Dr Juan Zambrano, assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, “Something as simple as exercise can help improve claudication,” he said. “Exercise is key and it doesn’t matter how you treat the underlying condition, exercise is always going to help.”

Very helpful information for those suffering from PAD.  This article is not intended to offer medical advice.  We are not medical doctors.  Please see your primary health care physician if you have concerns about PAD symptoms or any other questions about your health.



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