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Diagnosing Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

(Ed. note - As it is heart month, we asked Dr. Rocco Ciocca, Chief of Vascular Surgery, to explain a little more about heart attacks and peripheral artery disease.)

In the last blog we defined a condition known as PAD, which is a constellation of problems related to narrowing of the arteries outside the heart.

PAD, If left untreated, can lead to having a stroke, worsening high blood pressure, difficulty walking, non-healing sores on the legs and feet and in extreme cases gangrene necessitating amputation of the involved body part.

I briefly mentioned how it can be diagnosed and would like to describe that in more detail here.

The great news is that doctors do not need order a bunch of painful or expensive tests to diagnosis PAD. The best and most cost-effective test is a thorough history and physical exam. During that, the health care provider will listen to your symptoms and ask questions about your medical history and your risk factors.

The major risk factors for PAD are:

  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • high cholesterol levels

Heart Attack and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

(Ed. note - As it is heart month, we asked Dr. Rocco Ciocca, Chief of Vascular Surgery, to explain a little more about heart attacks and peripheral artery disease.)

Most people are familiar with the phrase “heart attack” and know that it can be a life threatening condition.

The most common case of a “heart attack” or myocardial infarction is the sudden closure or clotting of a vessel or vessels that supply blood and thus oxygen and other nutrients to the heart. The heart is a muscle and without adequate blood flow the muscle dies. The most common case of a heart attack is “hardening of the arteries” or atherosclerotic disease of the arteries. The disease, which is most commonly related to various risk factors such as age, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high suger levels in the blood (diabetes), causes abnormal blockages to develop in critical blood vessels in the body limiting flow. The blood vessels of the heart are not the only vessels affected.

In fact, hardening of the arteries is a systemic (total body) process that involves many other blood vessels of the body. When it involves the other peripheral arteries of the body it is know as PAD, peripheral artery disease. The diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of PAD are managed by vascular specialists such as vascular surgeons.

Simple, heart-healthy Super Bowl recipe and advice from a cardiologist

It's heart month, and with the Super Bowl this weekend (and suggestions from the media that sporting events may trigger heart attacks), I decided to whip up my low-fat, smokey, heart-healthy three-cheese fondue, as well as ask cardiologist Mark Reisman, MD, for some tips.

Low-fat, smokey, three-cheese fondue (serves 6)

Ingredients

Where to Receive the Right Level of Medical Care

 When you are ill or injured, where should you go to receive the right level of medical care?

Top Four Innovations in Health Care Reform in 2012

What are the top four innovations in health care reform in 2012? 

1. Innovative changes in health benefit packages
2. Increased focus on primary and preventive care
3. Affiliations and data sharing between health networks
4. Personal health coaches

What exactly does this mean? Watch the video below to find out:

Five Healthy New Year's Resolutions for Men and Women

I'm a family doctor at Swedish's South Lake Union Primary Care Clinic - if you're into new year's resolutions, here are five healthy ones to try:

(Listen to the end for a 'bonus' resolution)

Dinner before dark

Daylight Savings Time ended November 6th. Yay, you gained a whole extra hour (on a weekend!) Bummer, you have been robbed an entire hour of daylight now through December 22nd.

If you’ve already stashed your superhero cape in the attic from Halloween and have accepted that it seems impossible to serve up a healthy dinner during the week, then let me offer a few tips to see if we can make dinner before dark a reality. (Ok, lets be realistic and forgo the catchy title, and agree to sit down to dinner before (please not during) Dancing With the Stars.)

Let’s start here.

Pick the most appropriate description of your culinary expertise:

a. I think I can locate the start button on the microwave and preheat an oven.

b. “Boil, bake, sauté” – No problem!

c. I could appropriately use the following in a conversation with Padma Lakshmi: chiffonade, julienne, mirepoix, bouillon. I’m ready for something seasonal, refreshing and exciting, yet simple enough that I don’t have to bulldoze my entire evening’s schedule to prepare.

Some solutions for every expertise:

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