Peripheral artery disease or PAD is a condition that blocks the marginal arteries from taking blood from the heart to other body parts. Lower-extremity, for instance, is the widespread form of PAD that reduces blood flow in feet and legs.
Like PAD, coronary artery disease is also caused by a condition known as atherosclerosis- the buildup of plaque (mainly fat) in the arteries. The accumulation of this plaque narrows or blocks the arteries throughout the body or parts like arms, legs, kidneys, heart, and brain.
If you suffer from PAD, learning about the risk factors associated with the disease may help you find the best treatment.
Some Quick Facts
The common symptoms of PAD are fatigue, cramping, pain, discomfort, aching in the hip or leg muscles while climbing or walking stairs. This pain typically goes away with sleeping or rest and may return when you walk or climb stairs again.
Keep in mind that:
Many people confuse PAD symptoms or signs for something else.
PAD may go undiagnosed by many health care professionals.
People with PAD have a high risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart attack
If left untreated, the disease may lead to amputation and gangrene
Understanding the Risks Associated with PAD
If you smoke or have Type 2 diabetes, you’re at high risk of developing PAD symptoms. If you have any risks for peripheral artery disease, you must undergo screening even there are no symptoms. However, there are some risk factors you can’t control. These may include;
Age 70 and older
Less than 40 with Type 2 diabetes and other risks for atherosclerosis
Age 50 to 65 with risks for developing atherosclerosis
Family or personal history of PAD
Common Symptoms of PAD
While many patients with PAD don't experience any symptoms, others may have symptoms like;
Pain, achiness, heaviness, or numbness in the leg muscles while walking
Weak pulses in the feet or legs
Sores on the toes or legs that have slow healing
A bluish or pale color to the skin
Poor or slow nail growth and leg hair growth
Erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes
Controllable Risk Factors of PAD
Managing some risk factors associated with PAD is possible. These may include;
Cigarette smoking - Smokers are at higher risk of PAD, compared to nonsmokers. Quitting smoking may help reduce the risk.
High Blood Pressure – Hypertension is called "the silent killer" as it shows no symptoms. You must monitor your BP to control PAD symptoms.
Type 2 Diabetes – If you have diabetes, it may put you at greater risk for PAD and other cardiovascular diseases. It would be best if you managed diabetes to avoid the risk.
All in all, controlling the risk factors is an effective way to reduce the chances of developing PAD and improve your overall health. We recommend you to work with a vein consultant such as Dr. Pensler to screen your health condition and prevent symptoms.
Visit Dr.Pensler’s medical facility for screening and health care guidance!