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      Peripheral Arterial Disease can be serious if left unchecked

      Oftentimes when we feel a pain in our chest, we get it checked out for a risk of heart attack. But with a leg pain, it's not always something we go in for; however, if it's Peripheral Arterial Disease, it could be serious, even leading up to amputation.

      â??The things that people want to watch out for if they think they have it would be if they have claudication, which is a term that means when you're walking, your leg cramps up and you stop and it gets better; you then get pain in your leg, it stops, then gets better,â?? said Dr. Joel Johnson, of Vascular Surgery.

      Peripheral Arterial Disease, or PAD, is a loss of circulation due to a clogging of the arteries by plaque. Sometimes it's simply of a genetic disposition; it could be a result of diabetes, or other factors.

      â??Smoking is something that you can do something about, and I always tell people smoking is just like throwing gas on the fire; you're basically accelerating the process of hardening of the arteries,â?? Johnson said.

      Dr. Johnson has a variety of ways to fix the issue, but oftentimes it's by means of an atherectomy.

      â??I always tell people an atherectomy is similar to a Roto-Rooter in plumbing; you're basically cleaning out the pipe,â?? Johnson said.

      The patient can often go from 90 percent blockage, to a cleared out, and working artery. Dickinson County Healthcare System just started treatment for PAD this past spring, and they say patients are liking staying local, and can feel the benefits.

      â??One comment that Iâ??ve received from a patient is after they have this procedure, they say, â??Oh! I feel that my foot's warm again!â?? Itâ??s really rewarding that not only does he do these procedures, but the patients have wonderful outcomes,â?? said Imaging Services Manager, Sherry Kloepp.

      Be sure to see a doctor if you are ever experiencing heaviness, pressure, or significant numbness in your legs.