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Doctors explain the dangers of having PAD and not knowing it

RICHMOND, Va. -- John Goodreau has long suffered from Peripheral Artery Disease, a common circulatory problem where narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to his legs.

"It was affecting my ability to swim," Goodreau said. "I didn't have any idea what it was."

Peripheral Artery Disease, also known as PAD, is caused by Atherosclerosis, which narrows and blocks certain arteries in the critical regions of the body, including the legs, arms, and neck. If gone unchecked, PAD can lead to kidney failure, amputations, and even death.

"PAD not only affects the vascular bed in the arms and legs, it can affect the vascular bed in your brain," Dr. Ashwani Kumar, a Vascular Cardiologist at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, said. "If it affects the brain, it can give you a stroke. If it affects your heart, it can give you a heart attack."

John Goodreau

Risk factors for PAD include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. Some patients don't experience symptoms, that's why physicians said it was important to be screened if you may be at risk.

Kumar said newer technology is helping detect and treat PAD, a condition that affects more than 8 million people in the United States. The most susceptible populations are patients over the age of 60.

Where lifestyle modifications and medications don't work, Kumar said surgeries, including the use of newer medicated balloons, are helping prevent frequent recurrence.

Some patients may need bypass surgery to bypass the blockage, while other patients may receive procedures where blockages are opened using a balloon, stint or scraping plaque from the artery walls.

While Goodreau has suffered from PAD for more than a decade and undergone eight medical procedures, his latest surgery using endovascular methods, has shown the most promise.

"I have gone one full year, plus two months without an operation,"Goodreau said. "I have not done that in 10 years, that to me is a miracle."

You can join HCA for a free educational seminar on Peripheral Artery Disease on Tuesday, February 26 from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. The event will be held at Henrico Doctors' Hospital in the Williamsburg and Jamestown Conference Rooms.

Working For Your Health is a partnership with HCA Healthcare. Serving the greater Richmond area, Chippenham, Henrico Doctors’, Johnston-Willis, Parham Doctors’, and Retreat Doctors’ Hospital are part of HCA Virginia. Watch for Working For Your Health reports Tuesdays on CBS 6 News at 7 p.m. 

Watch for Working For Your Health reports on CBS 6.

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