Peripheral arterial disease screening
Are you over age 50 and have any of these symptoms?
- Muscle cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs or exercising?
- Sores or wounds on the toes, feet or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all?
- A lower temperature in one leg compared to the other leg?
These are typical symptoms of a condition called Peripheral Arterial Disease, or P.A.D.
Take a fast, free heart health test
There is a fast, painless test that can screen for heart disease. If you are over age 50 and have symptoms, we urge you to set aside 15 minutes for this simple, free screening. No sticks, no pricks--it's fast and free.
P.A.D. occurs when the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the head, organs, and limbs become clogged with a substance called plaque. P.A.D. can be an indicator of a life-threatening heart condition.
These may increase your risk for P.A.D. and heart disease.
- Cigarette smoking
- Physical inactivity
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Frequently asked questions
Why take this test?
The test detects a condition called Peripheral Arterial Disease, which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries. Over time, the plaque can harden and narrow the arteries, limiting the flow of blood. Testing is important because people who have P.A.D. are at increased risk for coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke and mini-strokes.
How does the test work?
The test is called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). The ABI compares blood pressure in your ankle to blood pressure in your arm showing how well blood is flowing in your limbs. The test can identify people who are at an increased risk of heart attack, stoke or mini-stroke, even if they have no symptoms of heart disease.
You'll have your blood pressure taken using a cuff on your arm. The systolic pressure in the brachial artery of the arm is recorded. Then a blood pressure cuff is placed just above your anklebone. An ultrasound device is used to locate the arterial blood flow in your leg. The systolic pressure of the leg arteries is measured and compared to the pressure of the brachial artery in your arm. The ABI test only takes abut 10 to 15 minutes.
If the pressure in your arm and leg are different, you may have peripheral artery disease.
What if the test indicates I might have heart disease?
If your test indicates you might have artery disease, we'll help you with an appointment to a physician. You'll likely need to have additional tests to confirm the presence of heart disease. Then, your Riverside doctor will help you with a plan for maintaining your current heart health and treating your heart disease. While there is no cure for heart disease, you and your doctor can do much to prevent it from getting worse.
What if my test results are fine?
First of all, congratulations! Remember, however, that your risk for heart disease changes over time, so it's important to learn the factors that could impact your heart health. For women, more than 80 percent aged 40-60 have at least one risk factor for heart disease If you have any of these risk factors, there may be other screenings recommended by your doctor.
Risk factors for heart disease
Heart disease doesn't discriminate, but there are factors that can increase your likelihood of developing heart disease. The National Institutes of Health have identified these risk factors:
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure
- Insulin resistance
- Overweight or obesity
- Lack of physical activity
- Unhealthy diet (high in saturated and trans fats)
- Family history of early heart disease
Talk to your Riverside doctor about heart health
If you have one or more risk factors, please discuss your heart health with your Riverside primary care provider. You'll notice that many risk factors are controllable. Together, we can find ways to reduce your risk and maintain your heart health.