Tag Archives: cardiovascular disease

Ask the Doctor: Diagnosing and Treating Peripheral Vascular Disease

When people hear “clogged arteries,” they likely think about the arteries of the heart. But plaque can also build up in the arteries of the legs. That can lead to leg pains, infection, wounds on the legs and feet, and even limb loss. It’s called peripheral vascular disease. More than 8 million Americans have it, but some don’t even know. Dr. Samantha Cox of Southern Surgical Group, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, answered questions about peripheral vascular disease in this WLTX interview.

While this disease typically occurs in people who are 65 or older, it can occur at nearly any age. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, diabetes, kidney failure and obesity increase the risk.

Some patients may experience no symptoms. Others may have fatigue or cramping of the muscles in the calf, thigh or hip. Typically, patients feel the discomfort while walking and it goes away with rest. Patients with pain in the toes or feet while resting may have an advancing case of peripheral vascular disease. Open wounds or ulcers on the toes or feet can signal a serious case requiring immediate medical attention.
Treatment includes managing risk factors with lifestyle changes and medication. A vascular surgeon may also perform a surgical bypass to help heal wounds on the legs. Minimally-invasive techniques can also help restore blood flow to the arteries of the legs.

Preventing Peripheral Vascular Disease
~Avoid smoking.
~Exercise regularly.
~Take prescribed medications as directed for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, diabetes and kidney failure.
~Maintain a healthy weight.
~Eat a balanced, low-sodium low-fat diet.

Color Me Stress Free

Today is the first day of American Heart Month. Lexington Medical Center is committed to teaching our community how to Just Say Know to heart disease through continuing education about the #1 killer of men and women.

Did you know that poorly managed stress can hurt your heart? During stressful times, our bodies release stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare our bodies to rev up to meet upcoming challenges. But these challenges are supposed to be short-term. When they last month after month, stress hormones can damage the body.

The longer stress hormones circulate in the body, especially when high blood pressure is present, the more inflammation and damage can occur in the walls of the arteries. This damage can create cracks where plaques can form, leading to blockages in the arteries. Increased inflammation can trigger the blockages to rupture, causing heart attacks. Stress can also cause the arteries to constrict, restricting blood flow and increasing blood pressure.

While we may not always be able to change the situation that’s causing our stress, we do have a choice in how we respond. One of the most powerful ways to combat stress is by coloring. visit LexMed.com/Know and download a free “Color Me Stress Free” color sheet. Finish your picture, take a photo and post it with the hashtag #LMCJustSayKnow. Take a look at the video below for a preview.


Meanwhile, walking is another one of nature’s best tranquilizers. Whether it’s a five-minute walk during a break at work or an hour-long walk in a park on the weekend, walking will definitely help. In fact, any exercise will help you better deal with stress.

Test your heart health knowledge by taking a quiz on LexMed.com/Know.

We look forward to keeping your heart healthy!