Patient Comments: Peripheral Vascular Disease - Experience

Please describe your experience with peripheral vascular disease.

Comment from: epare, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 14

I have always been active and walked a few miles a day up to about 5 years ago when my ability to walk progressively decreased to the point where I could only walk about 50 feet before having to stop from pain in my calves. I was diagnosed with PAD (peripheral artery disease) and told I had 90 percent blockage of the left femoropopliteal artery with 80 percent blockage of the right. Because the main blockage was behind the left knee, I could not have a stent but was able to benefit from angioplasty. I was morbidly obese, type II diabetic, ex-smoker, and had too much cholesterol. I lost the weight down to a BMI of 25, got my cholesterol down to better-than-normal, and controlled my diabetes with exercise and diet. Claudication re-occurred last year and I had another angioplasty, this time in the right leg, still no stent. I am currently still experiencing mild claudication but am forcing myself to walk 6 miles per day carrying a pack. I still have a normal BMI, normal cholesterol, and normal blood sugar levels. I have not beat PAD but feel I can control it for a few years more.

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Comment from: Mosoko, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

I had calf pain for 4 years. I smoked for 30 years, not heavily but enough to ruin my life. My family doctor thought I had flat feet. Thanks to an alert podiatrist, I had ultrasounds revealing almost total arterial blockage on my right leg. I had a double bypass for peripheral vascular disease 1.5 years ago, and able to walk for the past year. The angioplasty didn't work for me. I'm on the treadmill for 45 minutes and every second day 20 minutes cycling and 25 minutes treadmill at my gym. I don't limp for short distances, but my calves still kill me. My surgeon said shortly after surgery I'd be lucky if my leg lasts 5 years, and I'm going to keep working hard to prove him wrong! I tell everyone who will listen, this is what smoking did for me. What a fool!

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Comment from: Mary E., 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 08

At the age of 37 I was told I had peripheral vascular disease (PVD). That's when I had my first aortic bypass, and was told to stop smoking. Between 37 and 54 I have had every surgery that could be done. I was still a smoker. At the age of 54 I was being life-flighted into the city to a top notch hospital. Two days later I became an above the knee amputee. That was February 2013. Because it is a vascular issue which can keep a patient from properly fitting into a prosthetic I have not walked since and may never walk again. Please, if you are told you have PVD, stop smoking!

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Comment from: needajay123, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

My experience with this peripheral vascular disease (PVD) started for me in the early 90s with bi-lateral diseases in both legs. I evidently was born with this disease because I have always had skinny legs, they never would develop into nice muscle toned shaped legs that girls could be proud of. I often wondered why my legs would hurt after long walks, or after riding bikes in my younger days. In my late 30s I decided to seek medical help. It was interfering with my ability to do my job, it hurt to walk the hospital halls. My first surgery, the surgeon's plan to me was to use a vein from one of my upper extremities to replace the bad vein. Well, how about the surgeon changed his mind mid surgery and decided to use a bypass from one of the diseased veins and 15 min into recovery, that vein blew. They had to rush me back into surgery, open up that leg again and they sent me home with an open gashed wound that had to be changed every day until the skin closed up on its own. Several months of rehabilitation later, leg is very deformed with long scars from my genital area down to my knees. Then the surgeon who butchered me left the area and relocated with no forwarding address. The next surgeon did my left leg (he did surgery on this leg 2 times) did not want to reopen the work the previous surgeon did on the right leg. To make a long, sad story short, both legs butchered, I still have the same problem, was told by the surgeon that they almost lost me, had to get my sister to sign for 11 pints of blood, and was told no more surgery, I may not make it off the operation table. I wish I had never had the first surgery. Now my toes after all these years are beginning to go numb on my right foot and the right leg is the one I consider butchered.

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Comment from: angeleyes, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

I had peripheral arterial disease (PAD) since last year. I have had stents put in my left leg and last year had a femoral graft bypass done to the groin area. But it failed within 7 months and last month I had an aortofemoral bypass done. I did smoke but don't smoke now. I waited for years to see why my legs hurt while walking, running, etc. The best thing I can say is don't wait either with or without insurance, get the help you need. Don't take a no for an answer. It's your life.

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Peripheral Vascular Disease - Symptoms Question: What are your symptoms associated with peripheral vascular disease?
Peripheral Vascular Disease - Treatments Question: What forms of treatment, including lifestyle changes, have you tried for peripheral vascular disease?

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