All You Need To Know About Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common condition when the arteries in your legs or other extremities become blocked or narrowed. This narrowing is usually caused by plaque, a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances in the blood. PAD can lead to leg pain when walking or exercising (claudication) and, in severe cases, can cause amputation. If you think you might have PAD, see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to preventing complications. Therefore, you should visit a specialist in peripheral arterial disease El Paso as soon as you notice any symptoms.

Causes of peripheral arterial disease

Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This is a condition where the arteries become narrowed or blocked by plaque. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances in the blood. In atherosclerosis, the fatty deposits called atheromas build up in the arteries, narrowing them and restricting blood flow. This can cause leg pain when walking or exercising (claudication) and, in severe cases, can lead to amputation. Other causes of PAD include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of heart disease or stroke
  • Over the age of 50

Peripheral arterial disease symptoms

The main symptom of peripheral arterial disease is leg pain when walking or exercising. This is known as claudication. The pain is usually in the calves, thighs, or buttocks and can be very severe. Other symptoms include:

  • Numbness or tingling in the feet or toes
  • Cold feet or legs
  • Sores on the feet that don’t heal
  • Weakness or fatigue in the legs
  • Change in skin color, especially on the feet and legs (pallor, blue/black discoloration)

In some cases, you may experience no symptoms at all. This is known as ‘silent’ PAD.

Peripheral arterial disease diagnosis

If you think you might have peripheral arterial disease, see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital in preventing complications. Your doctor will likely do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. They may also order some tests, including:

Ankle-brachial index (ABI) test: This measures the blood pressure in your ankles and compares it to the blood pressure in your arms. A low ABI score may indicate PAD.

Doppler ultrasound: This uses sound waves to create a picture of the arteries in your legs. It can help show how well blood is flowing through your arteries.

Arteriogram: This is an X-ray of the arteries in your legs. It can help identify any blockages or narrowing.

Peripheral arterial disease treatment

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and improve blood flow. This may involve lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet. If your condition does not improve, your doctor may recommend medication to help improve blood flow. In severe cases, you may need surgery to bypass the blocked artery. If you have PAD, it’s essential to see your doctor regularly. This will help ensure that your condition is appropriately managed and that you’re not at risk for complications.

In summary, the peripheral arterial disease is a common condition that occurs when the arteries in your legs or other extremities become blocked or narrowed. The main symptom is leg pain when walking or exercising, but you may also experience numbness, cold feet and legs, and sores on the feet that don’t heal. If you think you might have PAD, see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital in preventing complications. Therefore, you should visit a specialist in peripheral arterial disease as soon as you notice any symptoms.

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