Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a disease in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. When you develop peripheral artery disease your extremities usually your legs don’t receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand. Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries. This condition may be reducing blood flow to the heart and brain as well as the legs.
Many people who have peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) don't have any signs or symptoms, while others may have many signs and symptoms. The symptoms of peripheral heart disease will vary according to the location of the clogged artery. These symptoms include; aching, painful cramps in the thighs, hips, feet, or calves after climbing stairs or walking; leg numbness and weakness, sores on the toes, legs or feet that don't seem to heal; coldness in the foot or lower leg, hair loss on the feet and legs, change in color in the legs and changes in toenails. These symptoms are generally referred to as intermittent claudication.
PAD can be diagnosed by a physical exam. Signs of PAD are a weak or absent pulse below a narrowed area in the arteries or whooshing sounds that can be heard with a stethoscope. It can also be diagnosed using a common test called Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) which compares the blood pressure in your ankle with the blood pressure in your arm. Another way to diagnose PAD is through an ultrasound, such as Doppler ultrasound which can help the doctor evaluate blood flow through your blood vessels and identify blocked or narrowed arteries. PAD can also be diagnosed with a sample of your blood which measures your cholesterol and checks for diabetes. Angiography can also diagnose PAD which means the doctor will inject a contrast material (dye) into your blood vessels. This test allows the doctor to view blood flow through the arteries as it happens.
Factors that increase the risk of developing peripheral artery disease include smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increasing age, especially after reaching fifty years of age, a family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease or stroke. People who smoke have the greatest risk of developing this disease due to reduced blood flow.
The best way to prevent PAD is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For example, if the patient smokes, they should quit right away. If someone has diabetes, they need to keep their blood sugar in good control, exercise regularly, aiming for thirty minutes at least three times a week after getting the doctors permission. Eating a healthy diet is also important.
Treatment for peripheral artery disease has two major goals. The first is to manage…