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Vascular surgeon answers 10 key questions about peripheral artery disease

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Dr. Jim Melton
Dr. Jim Melton

Dr. Jim Melton, co-founder of the CardioVascular Health Clinic in Oklahoma City provided key questions to ask in evaluating the possibility that you are suffering from peripheral artery disease (PAD).

“PAD affects millions of Americans, but knowing the signs early can help prevent you or a loved one from losing a limb,” Dr. Melton said.

1. What is PAD?

Peripheral artery disease is a build-up of plaque in the arteries that can reduce circulation and cause serious issues for certain patients. Some of the most common risk factors for PAD are smoking, unhealthy dietary habits, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, strong family history, and being over the age of 60.

2. How common is PAD?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 8 million people in the US suffer from PAD. The disease may affect as many as 20 percent of individuals over the age of 60.

3. Do I have PAD?

People with PAD often experience painful cramps in their hips, calves or thighs during physical exertion. This pain typically lessens or completely goes away when they start walking or rest. They may also have numbness, weakness or a cold feeling in their legs or feet. Sores that will not heal on the ankles, legs or feet are another common symptom of advanced PAD. The more symptoms that you are experiencing, the higher your risk for amputation.

4. Is my quality of life going to be affected?

By focusing on a healthy lifestyle and making moderate changes to your diet and exercise routine, you may be able to keep PAD from getting worse. If you are diagnosed with PAD, an aggressive exercise program, cessation of smoking and a healthy diet will help the symptoms of PAD. Be sure to pay attention to your legs and feet for any wounds, cuts, or scrapes that may be present because they can cause significant problems that could lead to amputation.

5. Should I be concerned about amputation?

Early intervention is critical and can help avoid the life-altering event of limb amputation. Dr. Melton has pioneered a minimally invasive procedure to restore blood flow to lower extremities, preventing amputation in most cases. The procedure uses ultrasound to guide a needle and small catheter into one of the arteries at the ankle. Once the catheter has been placed, Melton is able to utilize the latest technology and medical devices to treat the buildup of plaque in the artery. This is known as the retropedal approach. 

6. Can I reduce or reverse my risk for developing PAD?

Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease and PAD. This can be true even if you have a family history of PAD or if you have experienced health problems in the past. Smoking cessation therapy is also highly recommended for those at risk for developing PAD.

7. What could happen if I don’t seek treatment for PAD?

In some cases, patients with PAD have suffered strokes, heart attacks and even serious infections due to the blockages caused by plaque build up in their arteries. These conditions can lead to the limb loss or even death.

8. Is there a cure for PAD?

There is no cure, but modern medical treatments can provide real relief and slow the progression of the disease. These PAD treatments include lifestyle changes, prescription medications, minimally invasive surgical procedures, and traditional open surgery solutions.

9. What prescription treatments are available?

Depending on the factors that caused your PAD, you may be prescribed medication to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure. If you have diabetes, it’s crucial that you keep your blood sugar levels under control. By using your prescribed medication, you will be more comfortable and continue to be more mobile while living with PAD.

10. Will I need surgery?

Only a doctor can determine if a surgical treatment would be the best choice in your case. Historically bypass surgery has been the most common procedure used to treat severe cases of plaque build-up in the arteries, but modern techniques such as the retropedal approach used by Dr. Melton and his colleagues at CardioVascular Health Clinic have provided a less invasive, highly successful treatment option.

Dr. Melton said patients should not ignore symptoms during this pandemic, stressing that his clinic is a small, outpatient facility with very low infection risk.

For more information about the CardioVascular Health Clinic and its services, go to or call 405-369-5443.

This article is sponsored by the CardioVascular Health Clinic.

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Dr. Jim Melton

Dr. Jim Melton

<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Dr. Jim Melton" title="Dr. Jim Melton"><figcaption>Dr. Jim Melton</figcaption></figure>
Eddie Roach

Eddie Roach is a contributing writer for BrandInsight, The Oklahoman's sponsored content product. Semi-retired, he creates content and writes blogs for a variety of clients after a 40-year career in various print and online communications roles,... Read more ›

CardioVascular Health Clinic

The CardioVascular Health Clinic is committed to providing high-quality cardiovascular care with a personalized approach to each individual patient. We utilize state-of-the-art technology and methods for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the full spectrum of cardiovascular diseases. Read more ›

NewsOK BrandInsight provides a place for local organizations and companies to connect directly with the NewsOK audience by publishing articles of interest on the NewsOK digital platforms in a special section.