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PVD: Surgery at 33 years old

  Dear Doctors;
  I am a 44 year old white male with a history of 2 aorto-bifemeral bypass
  surgeries and 1 axillo-bifemeral bypass surgery which was performed just
  last year. I was first diagnosed with Atherosclerotic peripheral vascular
  disease only 3 days before I had my first surgery. I would like to note
  that I did have signs and symptoms of the disease for years but because of
  my young age and the type of symptoms, low back pain, buttocks pain and
  numbness in the legs my doctors thought that the problem was in my back.
  My first surgery was performed when I was only 33 years old. After the
  surgery was peformed the doctors told me that I had congenitally small
  arteries. When I was 17 years old I enlisted in the U.S. Army. My weight
  at that time was 137 lbs. and my height was 70 inches. I did not start
  smoking until after I entered the service. I thought my health was good
  at the time having only the normal childhood diseases.
  My question is this:  After enlisting in the Army, within a 4 month
  period during my basic and advanced training my weight went to 165+ lbs.
  During this time I also had a lot of problems with my legs and feet, it
  seemed like I was always pulling a muscle in my knee or foot. I also had
  pain in the calves of my legs most of the time, my feet hurt and I
  developed ulsers on my feet. I was told at sick call that I needed new
  boots but I thought that my boots fit fine. Could these symptoms that I
  have described here have been the first signs of my vascular disease.
  Any help you can give me in answering this question will be greatly
  Thank You

Dear Robert,
Thank you for your question.  It is unlikely that you had significant blockages in your arteries at such an early age ( although not impossible).  More than likely the smoking contributed significantly to the development of the blockages as well as a genetic predisposition.  The best thing you can do for yourself now is to quit smoking (if you haven't already done so) and follow a healthy lifestyle.  
Hope this helps.  Please feel free to write back with any additional questions.
Information provided here is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace your doctor's advice.  Only your doctor can make specific diagnoses and recommend treatment.  If you would like to be seen at the Cleveland Clinic please call 1-800-CCF-CARE and ask for an appointment with a cardiologist.

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