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PAD Symptoms and Risk Factors

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 00:00

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition characterized by poor circulation in the lower limbs. It occurs when the arteries that transport blood in the lower limbs become narrow and hardened due to a buildup of plaque. In its earlier stages, PAD is often asymptomatic. As it progresses, symptoms can begin to appear and may include leg cramping, numbness, weakness, coldness, discoloration, hair loss, changes in the texture and color of toenails, and the formation of poorly healing wounds on the feet and ankles. Since symptoms might not arise until the disease has progressed significantly, screening for PAD is very important. People who are at risk for PAD, such as adults over the age of 50, those who live a sedentary lifestyle, and those who have a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular problems, should speak with a podiatrist about getting tested for PAD. 

Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with Julie Jurd-Sadler, DPM from Progressive Podiatry. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

Symptoms

Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Claudication (leg pain from walking)
  • Numbness in legs
  • Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
  • Paleness of the skin
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heal
  • Coldness in one leg

It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.

Diagnosis

While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.

Treatment

Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Ijamsville and Mouth Airy, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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