Peripheral Arterial Disease
What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition in which not enough blood flow goes to your extremities (usually the legs) due to narrowed arteries. This results in pain when walking because there isn’t enough blood flow to keep up with the demand.
What are the Symptoms?
While some people with PAD are asymptomatic, those who have symptoms of PAD may experience:
- Painful leg cramps after exertion (walking, going up stairs, exercise)
- Numb or weak legs
- Foot that’s colder than rest of body
- Sores on feet/legs that won’t heal
- Slower growth of toenails
- Hair loss on feet and legs
- Shiny skin on legs/change in color of legs
- Weak pulse in legs and feet
How is it Diagnosed?
- Physical Exam: Your doctor will begin with a physical exam. signs of PAD may be uncovered in many ways during the exam, whether it’s a wound that isn’t healing or the lack of a pulse in one of your legs.
- Blood Work: Tests may be given to measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels and for diabetes.
- Ankle-Brachial Index: This test compares the blood pressure in your ankle with that in your arm.
- Ultrasound and/or Angiography: To identify blocked or narrowed arteries.
What is the treatemtn?
- Lifestyle changes: In order to stop the progression of this disease and reduce your risk for heart attack and stoke, it is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations for diet and exercise changes, and if you smoke, quitting will have a positive effect on your health.
- Medications: Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce your risk for heart attack and stoke, as well as to manage the pain caused by PAD. Depending on the specifics of your disease, you may need to take medicine for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Surgery: In some cases, your doctor may recommend angioplasty, bypass surgery or thrombolytic therapy.