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When You Visit Your Doctor Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:
Do you develop pain, cramps, aches, fatigue, or numbness in
your leg muscles when you walk?
At what distance do you develop symptoms?
Do they go away when you stop walking?
Do you ever develop these symptoms at rest?
Which leg muscles are involved?
Do you have decreased sensation in your feet?
If you are a man, do you have erectile dysfunction?
Are you doing everything possible to modify the risk factors
that can worsen this disease (smoking cessation, treating elevated
blood pressure and cholesterol, and controlling diabetes)?
Are you exercising regularly and at progressively more strenuous
Are you taking an aspirin every day?
Are you eating a low-cholesterol diet?
If you have diabetes, do you practice meticulous foot care (cleaning,
applying moisturizing lotions, and wearing well-fitting protective
Do you know when to seek emergency medical care for peripheral
vascular disease (if your leg becomes suddenly painful, pale, cold
Do you know when you should be referred to a vascular surgeon?
Do you know possible surgical complications? (Be sure to ask
how often the surgeon performs this operation).
Do you get chest pain or pressure with exertion or at rest?
If so, you may have coronary artery disease.
Do you have sudden brief episodes of blindness (like a shade
being pulled over your eyes) or sudden episodes of weakness in
an arm or leg, or difficulty speaking? These could be warning symptoms
Do you get short of breath when you lie down or exert yourself?
Do you awaken in the middle of the night short of breath?
Do your ankles swell?
Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:
Heart rate, blood pressure, and weight
Major arteries (for abnormal noises)
Heart and lungs
Neurologic exam (reflexes and sensation in your legs)
Muscles (looking for atrophy in leg muscles)
Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies: