September is PAD Awareness Month: Early Detection Saves Limbs

Author: Avery Grubb

From Bevi Jimenez, with the Cardiovascular Institute of the South:

September 4th, 2019


HOUMA- More than 20 million Americans suffer from a condition called peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD. This is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs, leading to potential blockages in the legs.

September is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month. Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) urges our communities to learn more about this dangerous disease—the risk factors, the symptoms and the treatment options—in order to save limbs and lives. Studies show that approximately 60% of the amputation procedures performed in the United States could have been prevented. With proper diagnosis and treatment, most patients can manage the symptoms of PAD and avoid amputation or heart attacks.

As a part of raising awareness for PAD month, CIS is hosting screening events and lobby displays at the following locations on these select dates and times:

  • September 19 at CIS Meridian at 4909 Great River Drive from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • September 25 at CIS Zachary at 6550 Main Street, Suite 1000 from 5-7 p.m.
  • September 26 at CIS Opelousas at 1233 Wayne Gilmore Circle, Suite 450 from 1-5 p.m.
  • September 26 at CIS Lafayette at 2730 Ambassador Caffery Parkway from 8 a.m.- noon
  • September 26 at CIS Crowley at 1325 Wright Avenue, Suite K from 3-5 p.m.
  • September 27 at CIS Thibodaux at 1320 Martin Luther King Drive from 3-5 p.m.

Registration is encouraged for these screenings. To sign up, visit

Peripheral artery disease is caused by plaque build-up or blockages in the legs. Just like clogged arteries in the heart, blocked arteries in the legs keep the organs from receiving oxygen-rich blood, which raises the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes. PAD is a common and treatable disease, but it is often unrecognized and undiagnosed. Ultimately, PAD can reduce mobility and lead to amputation if left untreated.

Symptoms of PAD to look for in the legs include: pain or cramping after activity, numbness, coldness, sores or ulcers that won’t heal, discoloration, hair loss, shiny skin or a weak pulse. The risk for developing PAD increases with age and is highest for those over 50 years old. Smoking increases the chance of developing PAD three to five times. But other common risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and a family history of vascular disease, heart attack or stroke.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options for those with PAD that can help patients reclaim their quality of life. Lifestyle adjustments, such as quitting smoking and eating healthier, or medications, can be effective for many people with PAD. In severe cases, minimally-invasive vascular surgery or bypass surgery may be necessary to restore blood flow to the limbs to prevent an amputation. CIS uses the latest technology and advancements in the treatment of PAD and believes that early detection and treatment can save limbs and lives.

“The most severe manifestation of this disease is critical limb ischemia which is the leading cause of major amputations throughout the world,” explained Dr. Craig Walker, founder, president and medical director of Cardiovascular Institute of the South. “Amputation is more expensive, and is associated with more pain, disability and a higher death rate than interventional therapy.”

If you think you may have PAD, a painless ultrasound or imaging test can show the blood flow in your legs to determine your risk.

To schedule an appointment with a CIS cardiologist, call the CIS clinic nearest you. To learn more about peripheral artery disease, visit


About Cardiovascular Institute of the South

Founded by Dr. Craig Walker in 1983, Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) is a world-leader in preventing, detecting and treating cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease. CIS offers a comprehensive heart and vascular program with expert physicians trained in many specialties, including internal medicine, nuclear cardiology, electrophysiology, lipid management, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, valve disease and interventional cardiovascular procedures. CIS has earned international acclaim as a pioneer of research, development and education, as well as an innovator in the treatment of peripheral vascular disease. With a dedicated team of more than 800 team members, CIS provides comprehensive cardiovascular care at 19 locations across Louisiana and Mississippi, with eight telemedicine programs. CIS remains at the forefront of technology, providing the highest-quality, compassionate care. This mission has guided the institute for more than 36 years of excellence. For more information about CIS, call 1-800-425-2565 or visit