Commonly known as “poor circulation”, this condition affects one in five seniors and a third of all diabetics. Peripheral arteries are vessels that carry blood to legs, hands, and feet. Interruption of that flow can be caused by blockages from blood clots or cholesterol, or narrowing from smoking or complications of uncontrolled diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms: Early signs include cold feet or fingers. This can progress to bluish color in toes and fingertips. Pain may occur, first with exercise, then even at rest. More advanced cases exhibit poorly healing ulcers of the extremities. Unchecked, the lack of decent blood supply could lead to the loss of digits or limbs.
What to do: See your doctor to get severity assessed. Ultrasound can determine areas of poor circulation. Dye studies are more accurate. Aspirin or stronger blood thinners help to avoid development of clots. Stents may be required to improve flow. It is crucial to avoid smoking and control cholesterol and diabetes.
Thought for the day: Blue toes or ulcers, in this situation, could indicate poor circulation.
What’s Going Around is contributed by family practice doctor Kyle Scarborough, M.D. You can reach him at www.familylifemedical.com
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