If left untreated, arterial disease can progress to a point where patients begin to experience physical pain in their legs or other extremities. If things reach that point and the condition isn’t treated, it can result in loss of sensation in the foot, or even gangrene.
When your health declines to the point of gangrene, many patients hear that the only option left to them is amputation. While there is no way to restore gangrenous tissue to its former healthy state, there are things you can still do. There is available gangrene treatment in Rogers!
As a result, most patients coming into our office for the first time usually only do so because they’ve exhausted the rest of their care options. That’s why the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center team decided we wanted to focus on preventative education.
Treating Arterial Disease with Dr. Stout
Dr. Stout and our team have advanced training in diagnosing, managing, and treating the health outcomes of severe arterial disease. Specifically claudication and gangrene.
Depending on the severity, some may just need proper guidance for medication and supplements, while others may require an angiogram or stents to heal a wound. Or, in the case of gangrene, even surgical tissue removal.
Many patients struggling with pain or gangrene are already well on their way toward needing amputation. This is simply due to the severity of the condition. The process of working with a professional to reverse this health outcome and prevent limb loss or serious health complications is known as limb salvage.
A personal passion of Dr. Stout, effective limb salvage consists of conservative care opportunities and surgical care interventions.
For many patients dealing with claudication and gangrene, their prognosis is dire. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have options. Limb salvage is not a single procedure or process but a multi-faceted approach to vascular care.
In the spirit of highlighting how you can take a severe health condition and reclaim your life, we’re taking time this month to discuss claudication and gangrene treatment in Rogers.
The Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center has your back through every stage of your vascular health journey. So let’s get started!
The First Sign is Claudication
For many of our patients, the first sign they are dealing with arterial disease is claudication.
Claudication is pain caused by too little blood flow to muscles during exercise. Most often this pain occurs in the legs after walking at a certain pace and for a certain amount of time — depending on the severity of the condition.
The condition is also called intermittent claudication because the pain usually isn’t constant. It begins during exercise and ends with rest. As claudication worsens, however, the pain may occur during rest.
Claudication is technically a symptom of disease, most often peripheral artery disease, a narrowing of arteries in the limbs that restricts blood flow.
Treatments focus on lowering the risks of vascular disease, reducing pain, increasing mobility, and preventing damage to tissues.
Claudication refers to muscle pain due to lack of oxygen that’s triggered by activity and relieved by rest.
Symptoms include pain, ache, discomfort, and/or fatigue in muscles. This pain usually flares up every time those are in use. This includes while exercising or just moving around. Specifically, pain is usually worst in the calves, thighs, buttocks, hips or feet. Some patients experience this in other areas of the body as well, like in the shoulders or lower back.
This pain usually gets better soon after resting, but that won’t necessarily be permanent. The pain may become more severe over time. In more severe cases of arterial decline, some patients even experience pain at rest.
Signs or symptoms of peripheral artery disease, usually in more-advanced stages, include:
- Cool skin
- Severe, constant pain that progresses to numbness
- Skin discoloration
- Wounds that don’t heal
A Gangrene Deep Dive
Before we dive into gangrene treatment in Rogers and what you can do to prevent and treat the disease, we wanted to dig into the topic of gangrene.
Gangrene is a serious condition where a loss of blood supply causes body tissue to die. It can affect any part of the body but typically starts in the toes, feet, fingers, and hands.
Gangrene can occur as a result of an injury, infection, or a long-term condition that affects blood circulation.
Types of Gangrene
Gangrene comes in a few specific varieties. Each is a serious health concern, but not all are equally lethal. No matter the variety of gangrene you may be dealing with, it’s important to contact your primary care provider immediately if you suspect you may have gangrene.
Caused by disrupted or blocked blood flow, often due to circulation problems. The usual cause of dry gangrene is peripheral artery disease.
Caused by disrupted blood flow along with a bacterial infection. Blisters that release pus (the “wet” factor) develop on your skin. This is why wet gangrene spreads so quickly to other tissues near the wound/ulcer site.
Caused by bacterial infection (Clostridium). Bacteria quickly multiply in your muscle tissue, forming toxins and releasing gas into your tissue. Spreads fast and can lead to death within 48 hours if not treated.
Caused by infection in your penis, scrotum, or perineal (genital and anal) area. This gangrene classification is far more common in biological males than it is in biological females, but both can—unfortunately—experience it.
Caused by blocked blood flow to internal organs. Affected organs may include your intestines, gallbladder, or appendix.
- Redness and swelling in the affected area
- Either a loss of sensation or severe pain in the affected area
- Sores or blisters in the affected area that bleed or produce a foul-smelling pus
If you believe you or a loved one are dealing with gangrene, you should contact your primary care provider immediately.
Causes & Risks
Anyone can develop gangrene, particularly after a serious injury, but there are certain groups of people who are more at risk.
These include people with long-term conditions that can affect the blood vessels, such as:
- Diabetes – a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high
- Atherosclerosis – where the arteries become clogged up with a fatty substance called plaque, narrowing them and restricting blood flow
- Peripheral Arterial Disease – where a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries restricts blood supply to leg muscles
Why You Should Get Gangrene Treatment in Rogers
The earlier treatment for gangrene begins, the more successful it’s likely to be. The main treatments include surgery to remove damaged tissue, known as debridement, and antibiotics to treat any underlying infection.
In some cases, surgery may be needed to restore blood flow to the affected area. In more severe cases, it may be necessary to amputate an entire body part such as a toe, foot, or lower leg.
We make sure, as we work with patients, that amputation is only used as our last resort. After all, when you begin the limb salvage process Dr. Stout, the goal is always to prevent the need for amputation entirely.
Your Journey Through Claudication and Gangrene Treatment in Rogers
Many cases of gangrene can be prevented.
If you have a condition that increases your risk of getting gangrene, such as diabetes, it’s important you have regular check-ups to assess the state of your feet. Report any problems to your primary care provider as soon as possible.
Introduce Conservative Care Strategies
Many people with serious arterial disease have poor diets and minimal opportunities for regular exercise. Providing them the nutrients and physical resources necessary to keep their body in fighting shape can make it easier to combat gangrene and claudication.
As Dr. Stout explains: “without necessary dietary resources, the body can’t heal and prevent further degradation.” While this may seem like an obvious solution, it’s not that simple. This is because attention is usually focused on symptom-specific relief, not comprehensive care when treating patients. However, the gangrene treatment in Rogers offered by the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center focuses on resolving the underlying health condition. We don’t just tackle your symptoms.
With attention and work, we can minimize the stress we place on our circulatory system. Though some patients don’t have a say in the matter due to underlying issues, most people are in control of their artery health.
5 Easy Care Strategies
If you’re looking for more specific steps you can take to improve your artery health, here are a few activities you can do to improve arterial health and overall circulation:
1. Avoid Smoking.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your vascular system, so our first piece of advice is to stop smoking immediately. Smoking contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries, meaning it’s a major risk factor for developing arterial disease and decreasing quality of life.
Exercising is a great way to improve vascular health, as it keeps blood flowing and prevents further plaque buildup. Walking and cardiovascular exercise are incredibly beneficial, but anything that elevates your heart rate is good. You should make a point of exercising once a day or as much as is feasible.
3. Eat Healthier
Diet is a major contributing factor to arterial disease. Foods high in cholesterol are a major cause of plaque buildup and increased blood pressure, so eating healthy is important in improving your health: more fruits and vegetables, less red meat and dairy. You should also make sure to eat smaller portions in individual sittings to reduce stress on your circulatory system.
4. Lose Weight
This is the most challenging item. Being overweight can strain your circulatory system, which requires more work to move blood around your body. Losing weight is vital to improving circulatory function and vascular health.
5. Monitor Your Health
Routine health screenings and physicals are critical to maintaining your overall physical health but can be especially useful for identifying and mitigating arterial disease. Make sure to check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly to keep tabs on your arterial health!
Note: It’s important to remember that none of these behaviors should replace consulting a healthcare provider or vascular specialist if you are worried about your vascular health.
In addition to conservative care, surgical care is also a vital part of preventing severe arterial disease from getting worse. Angioplasty and Stenting, Atherectomy, and minimal digit removal—these techniques, in addition to advances in the field, have made late-stage treatment not only possible but viable for the prevention of foot and/or leg amputation.
In the case of gangrene treatment, surgical intervention requires removing the gangrenous tissue since it will not be able to heal. By surgically removing the tissue from affected limbs or digits, we enable your body to start the healing process. This treatment
The Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center understands how frightening arterial disease can be. Still, it’s important to know that even when things look dire, there’s always an opportunity for care.
Severe arterial diseases, especially when you are dealing with gangrene or claudication, will require dedicated care and effort to heal. That’s why we treat amputation prevention as an ongoing care process.
The Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center team won’t just provide you care and wish you well. Ensuring your full recovery is a permanent recovery means we will continue working with you during your treatment, potential recovery, and beyond.
Your vascular health is our priority, and it doesn’t become less important simply because you managed to avoid amputation with hard work. We will consistently monitor your health, provide screening services for vascular concerns, and consult with you on lifestyle care solutions and your health. We are a lifetime partner in your vascular care journey.
As we’re sure you noticed, most of what we describe as claudication and gangrene treatments in Rogers is actually just holistic vascular care. Even surgery or invasive procedures are just tools to supplement a lifestyle overhaul. That kind of work can’t happen alone, and just the team at Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center isn’t enough, either.
We will work with your primary care physician, loved ones, and any other necessary medical professionals to provide you with quality care for the duration of your recovery and healing. You’re not alone, and since every facet of your life plays into your vascular health, it’s only right that we engage every facet of your life in keeping you healthy.
Turn to the Vascular Surgeons at Rogers!
If you need support with claudication or gangrene treatment in Rogers, turn to the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center. Our experience and constantly expanding suite of care options enable us to guide you toward lasting wellness solutions.
We are a premier practice in Northwest Arkansas for the highest-quality vein and artery treatments. Dr. Haney, Dr. Stout, and the expert staff have over 500 years of combined experience caring for patients’ vascular well-being. Helping people is what we do; our mission is to provide the people of Northwestern Arkansas and beyond with the absolute best care possible.
You can count on the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center to provide effective solutions for treating gangrene. No matter your needs or care resources, we will work with our patients to achieve optimal care results each and every time.
So, if you’re concerned about your vascular wellbeing, check out our Virtual Vein Screening Tool or schedule a consultation!