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F.A.S.T – It’s Not Just a Speed

Your vascular health can play a big role in the potential of someone suffering from the effects of a stroke.
A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply to the brain. Most are caused by blockages in the arteries leading to the brain.
As May is Stroke Awareness Month, it is time to remember the potential signs of stroke. Just remember F.A.S.T.
F – Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or does it feel numb?
A – Arm Weakness – If one arm is weak or numb, try raising both arms. One arm may drift downward.
S – Speech – Slurred speech or simply unable to speak.
T – Time to Call 9-1-1 – If a person shows these symptoms, it is time to call 9-1-1 and go to the hospital immediately, even if the symptoms go away.
A diagnostic ultrasound of the carotid artery can help determine warning signs of stroke. If you are concerned, talk to your primary care provider.

What Is Causing My Leg Pain?

Peripheral Artery Disease & Leg Pain

In patients who are normally active, symptoms of pain, weakness and swelling in the legs can be the first sign of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). It is not normal to have pain in your legs with activity. This suggests that a blockage has formed reducing the blood flow in your leg when you walk. Simply, if the muscles run out of blood, they will cramp and have pain. It is very important to see your primary care physician at this point because your body might be forming blockages in many places including the heart. There is simple treatment available with medications that can be prescribed if the diagnosis of PAD is made.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, and sometimes the first symptoms of artery blockages is not chest pain, but leg pain with walking. Get evaluated.

Is Physical Activity Causing My Pain?

Leg pain one experiences with walking could be due to multiple causes.

While fatigue or generalized weakness are common reasons this may occur, there are a number of other potential etiologies.  Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, often manifests itself as pain one experiences after walking.  The pain is caused by blockages in the arteries limiting blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to the tissues which thereby leads to cramping with exertion.  The cramping most commonly presents in the calf muscles of the legs, but can also be found in the buttocks or thighs.  Other common causes of pain in the legs while walking or at rest include venous insufficiency, lumbar spinal disease or even electrolyte imbalances.  It may be something you wish to investigate further with your provider as there are fairly simple tests used to determine the culprit.  Regardless, it is never wrong to keep walking and keep exercising!