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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.

Lexington Medical Center Welcomes Samantha Cox, DO

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to welcome Samantha Cox, DO, to its network of care at Southern Surgical Group. She joins the highly skilled surgeons, physician assistants and nurse practitioners at the practice to provide comprehensive vascular surgical care using the latest in advanced technology.

Samantha Cox, DO

A graduate of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Dr. Cox earned her osteopathic medical degree from Ohio University in Athens. She then completed a general surgery internship and residency at Summa Akron City Hospital in Akron, Ohio. After her residency, she completed a vascular surgery fellowship at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. 

Dr. Cox is certified in advanced cardiac and trauma life support, as well as fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery. A member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the Association of Women Surgeons and the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery, among other organizations, she most recently published research about developing a standard for urgent and emergent vascular surgery. She also recently presented research for pulmonary embolus management using a catheter-based technique at the Advances in Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy annual meeting and for endovascular management of pulmonary embolus and axillary artery embolus at the Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Society annual meeting. 

Dr. Cox is accepting new patients. For more information, visit SouthernSurgical.com

Southern Surgical Group
Lexington Medical Park 2
146 North Hospital Drive, Suite 310
West Columbia, SC 29169 
(803) 936-8901