People in Georgia might experience the signs and symptoms of peripheral artery disease although they may be unaware of the problem. According to vascular surgeons, up to 8 to 12 million people nationwide may suffer from this condition, or around 5% of all Americans over 50. Peripheral artery disease is linked to atherosclerosis, or fatty buildup inside the arteries. This leads to hardened, narrowed arteries, making it more difficult for blood to travel to and from the heart. Eventually, the disease may cut off blood flow altogether, researchers say.
However, peripheral artery disease may often go misdiagnosed or undetected altogether. Because the disease grows progressively worse, early detection and treatment are important to avoid more serious outcomes like heart attack, stroke or even amputation. Because the symptoms of peripheral artery disease can be similar to other conditions, some physicians may confuse them with a less serious illness. As a result, the disease may grow worse over time.
The Society for Vascular Surgery notes that cramps in the lower limbs are one common symptom of peripheral artery disease. People may feel pain in their feet, legs and hips when exercising or climbing stairs. Over time, people may feel leg pain even when resting because the leg muscles are not receiving the blood flow they need. In addition, people with this disease may notice that cuts, scrapes and other wounds take a longer time to heal, especially on the legs and feet, due to poor blood circulation. In other cases, people may notice that their legs become colder, and their toes can take on a blue appearance.
The failure to diagnose peripheral artery disease or other progressive illness can lead to a seriously worsened health condition for many patients. A medical malpractice attorney may provide advice on how injured patients could possibly pursue compensation for their damages.