'I waited too long,' says peripheral artery disease patient, warns others about the disease

South Texas woman talks about her bout with PAD

By Erica Hernandez - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - It's a disease that affects millions across the country and yet most don't know what it is. 

Peripheral artery disease is a vascular illness that could result in death or an amputation  because of the lack of blood flow to your limbs.

Diana Salinas, 61, didn't know about the disease. In fact, she thought she was healthy and saw no reason to visit a doctor.

"I never had any problems where I would have to go see a doctor," Salinas said. 

It wasn't until Salinas started getting pains in her legs while working two years ago. Even then, she didn't consult with a doctor until ulcers started to form on her toes. 

"I couldn’t even walk on that foot (right foot) anymore," Salinas said.

She eventually went to see a doctor, but it was too late.

She had to be airlifted in May from her home in Pearsall to Southwest General Hospital in San Antonio because her PAD was so severe.

Her vascular surgeon, Dr. Lyssa Ochoa, and the staff at Southwest General Hospital, were able to save her leg. 

Ochoa said because Salinas had never visited a doctor, she did not know that not only did she have PAD, she also had high blood pressure and high cholesterol -- factors that can lead to the disease.

Salinas learned her lesson and now wants others not to wait as long as she did.

"If you start feeling something out of the ordinary in your feet or your legs, then you need to go see a doctor right away," Salinas said. 


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