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Peripheral Artery Disease Explained

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 00:00

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a medical condition that can cause poor circulation in the lower limbs. This occurs due to a buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries that supply the lower limbs. The plaque causes arteries to narrow and harden, making it more difficult for blood to travel through them and bring oxygen and nutrients to the feet and ankles. In its early stages, PAD may be asymptomatic. As it progresses, symptoms can include foot and leg cramps, numbness, weakness, coldness, skin discoloration, hair loss, and slow-healing sores and wounds on the lower limbs. Your podiatrist can screen you for PAD through a variety of simple, noninvasive tests. If you suspect that you may have PAD, or if you are an older adult or have a family history of vascular disease, it is suggested that you visit a podiatrist for a PAD screening. 

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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