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Vascular Surgery

Arterial disease

11/03/2003

Question:

I am 40 and had an arterial doppler on my legs a few years ago due to them feeling "rubbery" a lot. the results stated that this was probably early periferal artery disease and to stop moking .I don`t smoke. My mother died of a suddne heart attack at the age of 39, my 36 year old sister has extemely high blood pressure and raynaud`s , her son 14 suffers migraine`s with very high blood pressure when he has headaches. My 18 year old son use to have migraines, just 3 months ago was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering a grand mal seizure, his dad and sisters also have the same epilepsy. He also has a multinodular goiter and often has to have his blood pressure recheck at the dr. office because it will be high the 1st time and the bottom number is always 85 or above. My question is should I be more concerned with my son`s blood pressure- the dr.s don`t seem to be, and what is peripheal artery disease, can it be halted or is it inevitable in my case. I take 10mg daily of zocor for high chlosterol. None of us are over weight at all, and eat pretty well.

Answer:

Blood pressure can vary quite a bit particularly if someone is nervous when being in a physician`s office. I would follow your physician`s advice in regards to your son. Peripheral artery disease is plaque and cholesterol build up in the arteries of the hips and legs. This is the same process that occurs in the heart arteries. People who typically develop peripheral arterial disease are smokers with high cholesterol. Genetics and diabetes also play a significant role. One of the best things you are doing is not smoking. Secondly, you should be sure your cholesterol is well controlled and under 200. I would encourage you to exercise at least three times per week for 20 minutes. If you find you get cramping in your calves after a certain distance, stop, rest, then go on. You will build up endurance over time. Early atherosclerosis (plaque build up) at your age is likely secondary to your genetics and cholesterol. I would be sure you have close follow up with your primary care physician and recommend evaluation by a vascular surgeon if you develop significant pain in your calves with walking (We don`t worry about calf cramping at night or so called `charlie horses` as these are not due to artery problems.) Best of luck!

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Response by:

Amy B Reed, MD Amy B Reed, MD
No longer associated