Understanding PAD: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Do you know Peripheral Artery Disease affects around 8-12 million Americans? Staying safe from this disease, as well as having successful treatment, is possible. However, awareness and early diagnosis are mandatory. Let's discuss it in detail:

What is Peripheral Artery Disease?

Also known as peripheral vascular or peripheral arterial disease (PAD), it affects your leg arteries. These arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the legs and arms. PAD results in the building of plaque inside your leg arteries.

It means your arteries will now have less space for blood flow. They will become narrow due to fat, cholesterol, and other substances.

Risk of Developing Blood Clot

Plaque buildup is harder from the outside while softer from the inside. There is a high chance of cracks occurring outside the plaque. When this happens, platelets enter inside, and blood clots may form.

These blood clots further narrow the arteries, making it more difficult for blood to flow. It is the reason why damage occurs in the organs present below the blockage. But don't panic; progress of PAD varies from person to person. Other health conditions and factors like age and location of plaque also matter.

Symptoms of PAD

In some cases, PAD may have no symptoms. Other people are likely to experience pain in the calf muscles while walking or exercising. This pain gets better with exercise, and the condition is called claudication. However, the pain can also be severe and may restrict you from walking and exercising.

Additional symptoms include:

       Frequent cramping in the calf muscles

       Numbness in the leg and foot

       Cold leg and foot

       Sores on the leg and foot that don't heal

       Shiny leg skin

       Slower leg hair growth

In severe cases, PAD may cause difficulty in sleeping. You may also experience pain even at rest. Try to elevate the leg or walk for some time to get temporary relief.

Causes and Risk Factors of PAD

Smoking tobacco is highly dangerous, and it increases your risk of developing PAD. Studies reveal around 80% of PAD patients are chain smokers. Diabetic patients are also at a high risk of developing PAD. Apart from this, the risk of PAD increases

under the following conditions:

        After the age of 65


       Heart disease

       High blood pressure or cholesterol

       Family history of PAD

Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment

With early treatment, medications, and lifestyle changes, managing PAD is possible. Patients are commonly advised to bring dietary changes. An exercise plan is also given with an emphasis on controlling other medical conditions. If the condition is severe, there might be a need for surgery.

If you are experiencing the above symptoms of PAD, book an appointment at Springfield Medical Clinic. Get a detailed checkup, as early diagnosis increases the chance of better treatment. We are here with comprehensive care for every patient!