Tag Archives: Dr. Samantha Cox

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.