PAD or peripheral artery disease shows signs of tiredness while walking and cramping or pain in the lower extremities. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the doctors often fail to detect this condition since they mistake it for something else. Therefore, it is vital to know the signs and the symptoms in order to help your doctor discover it on time.
For those who didn’t know, PAD is actually the narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the legs, stomach, arms, and head. Nevertheless, the arteries in the legs are mainly affected. Atherosclerosis is the major cause for PAD because it narrows and obstructs arteries in these critical areas of the body. It should also be mentioned that people dealing with PAD are more vulnerable to heart attack and stroke.
There are numerous different causes such as being physically inactive, high cholesterol, being obese, smoking, and hypertension. Diabetes can make it even worse.
Symptoms of PAD include:
- Wounds that heal poorly
- Area of the body affected is cooler than the rest
- Shiny skin (over legs or arms if this area is affected)
- Loss of hair on the legs
- Leg pain that usually comes with the onset of exercise then stops when you rest
- Fainter pulse in feet
- On the other hand, some people do not experience any of the abovementioned signs which happen when the body makes blood vessels grow around the blockages.
- In most cases, PAD is misdiagnosed, but fortunately, there are some ways in which your doctor can see whether you are affected by this illness.
- For instance, the doctor can test your ankle-brachial index, which compares the blood pressure at your feet with the blood pressure in your arm.
- Besides that, the doctor can also perform imaging tests like angiography, CT or MRI scan.
Treatment & Prevention
- According to AHA, when it comes to PAD, the doctors are concentrating on reducing the symptoms and finding ways to prevent further progression of the illness.
- For example, you should make a few of the following lifestyle changes:
Increasing physical activity
- Consuming a healthy diet
- Giving up smoking
- Taking medication to reduce high blood pressure and/or lower cholesterol
- Nevertheless, the best solution is to prevent PAD from happening in the first place, so you will need to stop smoking, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, eat well and exercise on a regular basis.
- Sadly, there are those patients who need a procedure known as angioplasty in order to open up the artery that’s clogged or a stent insertion to keep the artery open.
- These are minimally intrusive procedures.