Peripheral Artery Disease

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by Brita129
Last updated 8 years ago

Health & Fitness

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Peripheral Artery Disease

Answer yes or no to the following questionsCardiovascular (heart) problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke? Diabetes? A family history of diabetes or cardiovascular problems(immediate family such as parent, sister, brother)? Aching, cramping or pain in your legs when you walk or exercise,but then the pain goes away when you rest? Pain in your toes or feet at night? Any ulcers or sores on your feet or legs that are slow in healing? An inactive lifestyle? Do you smoke? Have you ever smoked?Your risk increases for each question you answer with a YES


Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a disease in which your arteries become blocked due to a build up of plaque (fat, cholesterol, fibrous tissue, etc.). This build up is called athersclerosis. Your arteries carry oxygenated blood to the whole body, so when they get clogged it can limit the amount of oxygen to that area of the body it is blocking. Peripheral Artery Disease most commonly affects the legs, but it can also affect the arteries that supply blood to the head, arms, kidneys, and stomach.

The best way to prevent PAD is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That means: Quit smoking if you're a smoker.If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar in good control.Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes at least three times a week after you've gotten your doctor's OK.Lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, if applicable.Eat foods that are low in saturated fat.Maintain a healthy weight.

For more information, please visit the Mayo Clinic website

Treatment for PAD has two goals; to relieve the symproms and prevent the progression of atherosclerosis. If prevention lifestyle changes are not enough, your doctor may provide medication to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and control pain and other symptoms. In some cases, angioplasty or surgery may be necessary to treat peripheral artery disease that's causing intermittent claudication.

Physical exam- Your doctor may find signs of PAD during a physical examination, such as a weak or absent pulse below a narrowed area of your artery, whooshing sounds over your arteries that can be heard with a stethoscope, evidence of poor wound healing in the area where your blood flow is restricted, and decreased blood pressure in your affected limb.Ankle-brachial index (ABI)- Compares the blood pressure in the legs to those in the arms. Ultrasound- Identifies blocked or narrowed arteries. Angiography-Injects dye into vessels and watches for reduced blood flow.Blood tests- Checks for diabetes, and cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

Diagnostic Tests

People who develop PAD may experience pain, aching, numbness, cramping, heaviness in the leg(s) muscles, thighs or calves. These symptoms subside at rest. This is called intermittent claudication.Other signs may include:Weak or absent pulses in the legs or feetSores or wounds on the toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at allA pale or bluish color to the skinA lower temperature in one leg compared to the other legPoor nail growth on the toes and decreased hair growth on the legsErectile dysfunction, especially among men who have diabetesSome people may not ever show any symptoms, so you should talk to your doctor if you are 70 years or older, or 50 years old or older and have a history of smoking or diabetes or younger than 50 and have diabetes and one or more risk factors for atherosclerosis

Signs & Symptoms

Development of athersclerosis

Critical limb ischemiaThis condition begins as open sores that don't heal, an injury, or an infection of your feet or legs. Critical limb ischemia occurs when such injuries or infections progress and can cause tissue death (gangrene), sometimes requiring amputation of the affected limb.Stroke and heart attackThe atherosclerosis that causes the signs and symptoms of peripheral artery disease isn't limited to your legs. Fat deposits also build up in arteries supplying your heart and brain.


Possible Complications

PAD affects 8 million Americans- Don't let it happen to you!


Risk Factors & Causes

Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to reduce risk of complications of PAD

PAD Video