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Have you ever been in a medical doctor’s office where they did a blood pressure test on your ankle? Probably not. It is a simple test of blood pressure in the ankle that may help gauge heart disease risk for adults. The U.S. government-appointed panel has not approved the idea because as they say “there’s not enough evidence to recommend it for routine checks.”

“The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said it’s unclear whether using the “ankle brachial index” to screen for peripheral artery disease (PAD) and assess the risk of heart disease is beneficial in people with no symptoms. “We recognize this is a common problem and PAD afflicts many Americans,” said task force co-vice chair Dr. Albert Siu. “And we recognize it’s a common cardiovascular risk factor, but we don’t know, in the absence of symptoms, whether this test is useful or not.” Remember that this doesn’t apply to people who are already showing the symptoms of peripheral artery disease.

Peripheral artery disease is a narrowing of the arteries in the pelvis and legs, and like heart disease, restricts the blood supply to the heart. The condition, which becomes more common with age, often goes undiagnosed and people who have it face four to five times more risk of heart attack or stroke, according to the American Heart Association website.

The most common symptoms are cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs. Typically, this pain goes away with rest and returns when walking again. Since my last posting on cramping, you can consider this a continuation blog.

Peripheral artery disease is most often diagnosed with the ankle brachial index, which compares the blood pressure in the feet with the blood pressure in the arms. In healthy people, the ankle pressure is at least 90 percent of arm pressure, but in PAD it may be less than 50 percent, according to the heart association.

One reason why the government panel is taking a serious look at screening for peripheral artery disease is because of the fact it could easily be a early warning sign of a cardiovascular event in the making. Our office recommends screening and provides the standard ultrasound testing on site for those who may be susceptible or are predispositioned for this disorder. Awareness of this early stage warning sign offers the opportunity to reverse the trend towards a cardiovascular event before it happens.

Peripheral artery disease is usually treated by medical physicians with blood pressure medications and cholesterol-lowering drugs. Some patients may also be treated with a minimally invasive treatment or surgery to open their narrow arteries. Understand that left untreated, peripheral artery can lead to gangrene and amputation. The condition affects about 8 million Americans, according to the heart association.

Magnesium is good for diseases of the heart and blood vessels including chest pain, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, high levels of “bad” cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, low levels of “good” cholesterol called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, heart valve disease (mitral valve prolapse), and heart attack. I often recommend a magnesium chelate formula for my patients because of the faster results. Magnesium Chelate is one of the fastest absorbing and utilized forms of magnesium available on the market. Patients have noticed a difference within the first half hour of taking this supplement for relief of their symptoms.

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If you are female, chances are that your calcium levels are also low and therefore I would recommend a Calcium & Magnesium Chelate.http://astore.amazon.com/energizingyourlife-20/detail/B00020I3IY

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