April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, a designated time to recognize those living without one of their extremities and acknowledge the challenges they face. The Vascular experts at Premier Surgical Vascular and Vein Center in Knoxville, TN want to remind you that Limb Loss Awareness Month is also an important time to explore options for preventing the loss of a limb. It’s estimated that 54 percent of Americans with an amputated limb suffered their loss due to a vascular condition.
This makes it essential for individuals with vascular diseases to treat and manage their conditions to reduce their risk limb loss. Here’s what you need to know about vascular conditions and limb loss.
What is a Vascular Disease?
Vascular diseases are any condition that impact that body’s circulatory system; the circulatory system is responsible for carrying blood throughout the body. Peripheral artery disease is one of the most common vascular conditions that contributes to limb loss.
Why Are Vascular Diseases Related to Limb Loss?
When your arteries are blocked due to plaque buildup, this decreases the amount of blood that is able to flow to your legs and feet. Eventually, your limbs are literally starved of the oxygen and nutrients that they need for proper healing.
Wounds to the legs and feet won’t heal properly or in a timely manner because your limbs won’t get the oxygen or nutrients they need to promote the healing process. If your wounds don’t heal, you’re at risk of suffering from a deadly infection and amputation may be your only treatment option.
What are the Symptoms of a Vascular Condition?
One of the tricky things about managing vascular conditions is that there may not be any obvious symptoms during the early portion of the disease.
Or, the symptoms may be subtle and include signs like muscle cramps, cold feet, or leg pain, that don’t necessarily lead the patient to believe they’re experiencing a potentially-serious health condition.
Advanced signs of vascular conditions include foot ulcers or sores on the legs and feet that refuse to heal, numbness or burning in the legs, skin that appears discolored and dry, blue or black skin with a foul discharge, heavy legs, and extreme leg pain.
Who is High Risk for Experiencing Limb Loss?
While anyone with a vascular condition is potentially at risk of losing a limb, some groups of people are at higher risk than others.
The following traits are considered risk factors for limb loss, especially in patients who have a vascular disease:
• Kidney disease
• Advanced age
The reason that these conditions are risk factors is that they all impact the body’s ability to heal itself.
When combined with a vascular condition, the patient’s body is at an extremely high risk of not being able to heal an ulcer or wound, putting the patient at risk of losing their limb.
What Steps Can You Take to Minimize Limb Loss Due to Vascular Disease?
If you have any of the early warning signs of vascular disease, have been diagnosed with a vascular condition, or have one of the major risk factors, it’s essential to seek treatment with a qualified vascular medical professional. Treatment may include the following:
• Prescription medications
• Lifestyle changes
• Procedures to restore adequate blood flow to your limbs
If you are experiencing the symptoms listed, don’t wait until it is too late. See a vascular specialist immediately! Premier Surgical Vascular and Vein Center in Knoxville, TN has a whole team of board certified vascular surgeons who will help you keep your blood flowing. Our goal is to keep you healthy.
For more information, or to request an appointment, please call (865) 588-8229 or visit https://www.premiervascularveincenter.com/book-online/.