TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – A patient, along with her doctors in Texarkana, are spreading the word about a condition known as PAD, peripheral arterial disease.
Earlier this year, Katrina Stevenson, 39, noticed she was being very clumsy. “Just hit the floor. I’d be walking, flat surface, and just hit the floor.”
The Pittsburg educator said then, her leg started to hurt. “It got pretty bad. My toe wound up getting gangrene.”
Stevenson was suffering from PAD. It’s caused by hardening of the arteries. Many times, it happens in the legs. She was referred to Dr. Jefferey DeCaprio, a vascular surgeon based at the Collom & Carney Clinic in Texarkana, Texas. “Show your feet, that’s what we say. Take off your shoes, show your feet. Let them examine you for pulses.” It’s a simple exam that can be performed by your family doctor. “I think a lot of people have a misconception that to diagnosis peripheral arterial disease you need a big expensive test and that’s not the case.”
“It affects about 20 percent of patients over the age of 65, so it is a very common … diagnosis to have,” said Dr. Todd Cumbie, also a vascular surgeon based at Collom & Carney.
Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Your risk is also increased if you smoke. Cumbie said symptoms can include discoloration of the feet and leg cramps. “More severe symptoms patients can develop are wounds that will not heal because they’re not getting blood flow to heal the wounds.”
Some cases can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.
Since her diagnosis, Stevenson has received a stent and had her toe amputated. Today, she feels great and said she takes nothing for granted. “I promised the Lord, I said Lord, you’re gonna win this one. You’re gonna get all the glory for this and I’m gonna tell it everywhere I go. I didn’t have tv in mind when I said that!” she said, laughing.