Vascular Disease Attacks More Than Just Your Heart - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Vascular Disease Attacks More Than Just Your Heart

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YAKIMA, Wash-- Many people know that chest pains and heart attack are serious aspects of vascular disease. Leg pain can be just as serious. Peripheral Arterial Disease can cause leg loss.

"In any given day that I'm in the office I'll see two to three new patients with this disease," said Dr. Justin A. Robertson, vascular surgeon.

Around 8 million people in the U.S. have peripheral arterial disease, but few are aware. In severe cases people can even lose legs. Hispanics and African Americans are particularly susceptible to this disease.

"Peripheral Arterial Disease is a where plaque and calcium build up inside of the arteries that carry blood flow in your body, in this case the legs," said Robertson.

LaDonna Schoengarth walks to help control her diabetes. When pain in her legs slowed her daily routine she sought help.

The screening test is painless and takes around a half hour. A simple ultrasound and blood pressure measurement can tell doctors if you're at risk. Some cases can be controlled with exercise or medication. LaDonna required surgery.

"These are the 49 lovely staples I've collected after the last surgery. But, he did a beautiful job he's a wonderful seamstress," said Schoengarth.

Like most who catch this disease early, LaDonna has experienced great results.

"Excellent, I'm able to get out and do what I want to do and walk and that's what matters," said Schoengarth.