Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a circulatory condition in which plaque accumulation in the arteries leads to a reduction in blood circulation. The ailment is also called peripheral arterial disease, and mostly affects arteries in the legs, feet and toes. However, it can also affect blood flow in other parts of the body. If you feel you may have peripheral artery disease in Frisco, seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease
The ailment can build up overtime and may not display symptoms until later in life. Likewise, outward symptoms might not appear at all until the affected artery has narrowed by at least 60%.
Intermittent claudication is usually the first apparent symptom of peripheral artery disease. It includes pain, discomfort or cramping in the leg that starts with activity, and stops with rest. The pain is usually felt in the calf, but might also be observed in the buttocks and thighs. Symptoms of intermittent claudication might also incorporate numbness, fatigue, weakness or heaviness in the muscles of the legs when walking.
Apart from intermittent claudication, PAD may also come with the following symptoms:
- A painful burning or aching sensation in the feet and toes while lying flat
- Coldness in a foot or lower leg region
- Skin color changes in the legs
- Sores on the leg, foot or toes that refuse to heal
- Hair loss on the feet and legs
- Shiny leg skin
- A weak or no pulse in the legs or feet
- Slower toenail growth
- Male erectile dysfunction
It is essential to note that many people affected by peripheral artery disease do not experience any symptoms.
Diagnosis of Peripheral Arterial Disease
PAD can be diagnosed using several techniques. If you suspect you have the illness, the following are some of the tests you might undergo at the doctor’s office:
- Ankle-Brachial Index: It is the most common test for peripheral artery disease, and it does a comparison between ankle blood pressure and arm blood pressure
- Ultrasound: Through special ultrasound imaging methods. e.g., Doppler ultrasound, your doctor can examine your blood flow and pinpoint narrowed arteries
- Angiography: In this test, a dye is injected into the blood vessels, so that the physician can see the arterial blood flow. Your doctor can trace the dye’s flow via magnetic resonance angiography or computerized tomography angiography
- Blood Test: The doctor can extract a blood sample to measure the level of your cholesterol and triglycerides. The blood sample can also help with checking for diabetes
Treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease
Treatment for PAD has two primary aims: manage symptoms and halt progression of atherosclerosis. Those aims might be achievable with lifestyle changes, particularly in the early stages of the condition. If you smoke, stopping the habit is the single most essential step you can take to decrease the risk of complications.
If you are experiencing peripheral artery disease symptoms, you will likely require additional treatment. Your physician might prescribe medications to prevent clots in the blood, lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure and manage the symptoms.
In some cases, angioplasty, bypass surgery or thrombolytic therapy might be required to treat PAD. Angioplasty involves threading of a catheter via a blood vessel to a narrowed artery. In bypass surgery, the doctor creates a graft bypass with a blood vessel from another body part or a synthetic one. Thrombolytic therapy involves injection of a clot-dissolving drug into a blocked artery.