Leg Pain and When to Worry: Be Proactive to Avoid Heart Danger

John Murano thought he was having back problems, and that his legs were hurting as a result. As it turns out, that pain may have saved his life.

An otherwise healthy 55-year-old, he figured he just needed to learn some back-strengthening exercises, so he found a personal trainer to help him. But despite the workouts, his leg pain got worse making it hard for him even to walk from the car to the grocery store entrance. He and the trainer suspected something else was wrong and he sought the advice of his doctor.

Soon his doctor’s tests revealed the true cause: blockages in the blood vessels of his legs. In fact, the arteries going to his lower extremities were nearly 100 percent blocked. The cause? Years of heavy smoking and high-fat meals, and other factors had caused cholesterol, scar tissue and blood clots to build up inside his blood vessels.

Most people think this kind of clogged artery disease, or arteriosclerosis, only happens in the heart. But as Murano’s case shows, it can happen throughout the body. When it does, it’s called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD.

Leg Pain could be a sign of possible peripheral artery disease.

Leg Pain could be a sign of possible peripheral artery disease.

And in some people, PAD causes leg pain that acts as an ‘early warning’ that someone is at high risk for a heart attack or a stroke.

In fact, nearly a quarter of people who have leg pain due to PAD will be dead in five years, mostly due to heart attacks and other heart problems, Dr. Davis says. For people like Murano, whose leg pain kept them from walking even short distances, the odds are even worse: as many as half will die by five years.

Fortunately, Murano got diagnosed and treated before that happened to him. Dr. Davis performed a vascular bypass operation to open his blocked leg arteries, similar to the bypasses that heart patients have. A recent checkup showed he’s doing well.

“For sure, it’s a wake-up call,” says Murano, who has quit smoking and changed his eating habits. “You know that old saying, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire’? I’m sure that I not only have the vascular issues in my lower extremities, but I’m sure I have them in other parts of my body.”

Murano isn’t alone, says Dr. Davis, who has operated on many patients with severe PAD. Nearly 30 million people in the United States have some form of PAD, though the vast majority are “silent” cases that don’t cause symptoms. Among people over age 70, nearly one person in five has PAD.

Who’s most at risk for PAD? People over 50, smokers, people with diabetes, people with high blood pressure, people with high cholesterol, and people who are overweight or obese, Dr. Davis explains. In other words, it’s the same group of individuals who have a high risk of heart attack and stroke.

Read More

Horse Chestnut Extract – New Alternative Treatment for Chronic Venous Insufficiency

What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

cvi-1Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a condition where the flow of blood through the veins is inadequate. Problems with the valves of the veins can cause the blood to flow backwards causing blood to pool in the legs. The greatest and most common symptom patients usually complain of is leg pain, which can be intensified by standing for a long period of time. Swelling in the legs and/or ankles is also a common symptom. As fluid accumulates the patient often experiences leg tightness, cramping and tingling sensations. Skin changes are often seen, varicose veins and in extreme occasions leg ulcers. Read More

Manatee Cardiovascular Earns ICAEL Echocardiography Accreditation

echoManatee Cardiovascular Wellness Institute, located in Bradenton, Florida, was recently granted accreditation of Echocardiography by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. This is a major achievement, given the vital nature of echocardiography in cardiovascular medicine.

Everything You Should Know About Echocardiography


Echocardiography is the use of ultrasound waves to investigate the action of the heart, and it is utilized to evaluate the health of the heart. It might also be called an echo test or heart ultrasound, but regardless of the name, it will take “moving pictures” of the heart to help determine what caused problems like heart murmur, heart attack, rheumatic fever, or unexplained chest pain.

Only a trained sonographer can complete an echocardiogram. The procedure is painless, but it can gather critical information regarding your health. For example, the test will show the size and shape of your heart, how well it is working, what portions are weak or malfunctioning, and where any blood clots are located. There are many factors that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on echocardiography. The training and experience of the sonographer performing the procedure, the type of equipment used and the quality assessment metrics each facility is required to measure, all contribute to a positive patient outcome. After the echocardiogram is performed, your cardiovascular specialist uses the results of the echocardiogram to ensure the best plan is prepared for your care.   Read More

The benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinol) in Cardiovascular Disease

coq10Coenzyme Q10 was introduced to the United States market about twenty years ago. However, during the most recent years Ubiquinol has become one of the most popular dietary supplements. Before being introduced to the American market, Ubiquinol was used in Japan as a prescription drug to treat cardiovascular disease. Coenzyme Q10, is an endogenous synthesized and diet supplied lipid-soluble cofactor that functions to improve the production of energy and the antioxidant defense in every cell of the body.  Ubiquinol is important for those taking statins to reduce cholesterol levels, it’s also been found to lower the risk of a variety of chronic cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure. Read More

Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Cardiovascular Risk Factors

diabetesType II Diabetes Mellitus, used to be known as adult-onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar. Diabetes Type II makes your body resistant to the effects of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the levels of sugar in your body, by transporting it to your cells. Unfortunately, Diabetes Type II is no longer a common disease that affects only adults, in facts its name has changed because it increasingly affects children as childhood obesity has doubled. According to the center of disease control and prevention, “The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.” Read More

The Truth about Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease

sugarGetting too much added sugar in your diet could significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. For many years high cholesterol was believed to be the number one cause of heart disease. Recent studies have shown that in fact added sugar in your diet significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to studies performed by JAMA, “those who got 17 to 21 percent of their calories from sugar had a 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared to those who consumed eight percent of their calories from added sugar.” Read More

What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

restless legRestless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs. This disorder is most common in middle and older age groups and affects 10-15% of the US population. Some of the Symptoms of RLS include:

  • Itchy, burning and tingling sensations on the legs “pins and needles”
  • Pain and cramping of legs increased at night that is relieved by movement or walking.
  • Difficulty falling asleep and/or repeated awakenings due to muscle cramps or leg discomfort.

Causes Read More

We Need to Help Our Children Reach Ideal Heart Health

heart-mother-childThe AHA made an announcement recently that serves as an important reminder to parents and the health community in general: a large portion of US children don’t meet the standards that define ideal cardiovascular health. As a country we tend to focus most cardiovascular health attention on adults, but children need help as well.

According to the AHA, most children make poor food choices and don’t get enough physical activity, which harms their overall cardiovascular health and places them at increased risk as adults. Barely half of all children are getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity, while less than 1 percent of children ages 2 to 19 ate at least 4 of the 5 food components necessary for a healthy diet! Read More

Understanding the Effects of Uncontrolled Atrial Fibrillation

afibAtrial fibrillation, also known as A. Fib (AF), is one of the most common cardiac arrhythmias in the United States. According to The Journal of American Medical Association, the number of patients with atrial fibrillation is likely to increase 2.5 fold during the next 50 years, reflecting the growing proportion of elderly individuals. A. Fib increases with age, approximately 70% of cases affects patients between the ages of 65 and 85 years of age.  Several factors and medical conditions increase the risk of developing AF. Some of these conditions are: uncontrolled hypertension, heart attacks, abnormal heart valves, overactive thyroid, and stimulants such as medications, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol. Sleep apnea and obesity are among the most common leading causes of AF. Read More