Leg Pain Screenings

Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) screenings are for employees who have one or more of these risk factors for peripheral arterial disease (PAD):

  • A history of smoking for 10 or more years
  • Had diabetes for many years
  • A personal history of heart disease or stroke
  • Pain in their legs when they walk that goes away when they stop walking
  • Age 65 or older

Why Should I Get an ABI Screening?

An ABI screening is a simple way to find out if you may have PAD, also called atherosclerosis. Symptoms are poor circulation or hardening of the arteries.

PAD develops over time and may not appear until later in life. ABI screening measures the blood pressure in your arms and ankles. A math calculation determines how blood is flowing between the top and bottom of your body.

If we find a problem, you will need to see your doctor for more testing and possible treatment.

What Happens During the Screening?

You will be asked to lie on your back while blood pressure cuffs are placed around your ankles and arms. We will take your blood pressure and calculate your risk of PAD.

You should wear shoes and socks that are easily removed and pants and sleeves that allow easy access to arms and lower legs.

Where We Can Go

We can go anywhere there are indoor accommodations. Because of the sensitivity of the instruments used, we need a temperature-controlled environment, away from outside entrances, cold drafts, high humidity and the sun. Some locations that work well are:

  • Congregations
  • Neighborhood programs
  • Senior centers
  • Workplaces
  • Just about anywhere we can be indoors

Scheduling Screenings for Your Group

We recommend scheduling your screenings three to four months in advance. Call Premier Community Health at (937) 227-9400(937) 227-9400 for more information.

More About PAD

PAD occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs and legs. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue and other things in your blood.  When plaque builds up in your arteries, it is called atherosclerosis (ATH-er-o-skler-O-sis).

Over time, plaque can harden and narrow the arteries. When less blood flows to some parts of your body, those parts do not get enough of the oxygen that is carried in your blood. PAD usually affects the legs, but also can affect the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, arms, kidneys and stomach.
This picture shows how PAD can affect the arteries in your legs.

PAD/Artery Visual

Figure A shows a normal artery with normal blood flow. The inset image shows a cross-section of the normal artery.

Figure B shows an artery with plaque buildup that’s partially blocking blood flow. The inset image shows a cross-section of the narrowed artery.

The Effects of PAD

Blocked blood flow to your legs can cause pain and numbness. It also can raise your risk of getting an infection in the affected limbs. It may be hard for your body to fight the infection.

If bad enough, blocked blood flow can cause tissue death (gangrene). In very serious cases, this can lead to leg amputation. 

If you have leg pain when you walk or climb stairs, talk to your doctor. Sometimes older people think leg pain is a symptom of aging. However, the cause could be PAD. Tell your doctor if you're feeling pain in your legs and discuss if you should be tested for PAD.

Treatment for PAD

Although PAD is serious, it’s treatable. If you have the disease, it’s important to see your doctor regularly and treat the underlying atherosclerosis.

PAD treatment may slow or stop the disease and reduce the risk of complications. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicines and surgery or other procedures.

Source: Premier Health Community Wellness Affiliate - Premier Community Health

Content Updated: June 17, 2016

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