Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when plaque buildup occurs on blood vessel walls and causes them to constrict. The condition affects type 2 diabetes patients, people prone to heart conditions and high cholesterol. The American Diabetes Association states that around 1 in 3 people with diabetic conditions aged up to 50 have PAD.
Doctors often diagnose PAD when the condition results in foot or leg problems.
Since the narrowing and buildup of arteries occur in your body, PAD patients are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Thus, proper diagnosis and treatment are vital to prevent any further complications. When you suspect Peripheral arterial disease, it would be crucial to consult your doctor.
Your physician can help you take the appropriate steps for treating your symptoms and heart protection with blood vessels.
Major PAD Symptoms
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports suggest that millions in America suffer from this condition. However, most people let the situation go unnoticed. Many patients and doctors have ignored the subtle symptoms of this illness.
Some significant symptoms are:
- Pain sensation in calves with mild to moderate exercise like walking and jogging that goes away after resting is known as “claudication.”
- Tingling, numbness, or feeling of needles and pins in lower feet or legs
- Sores and cuts on the feet and legs that gradually heal or don’t heal at all
Most often, symptoms are so subtle that people don’t become suspicious about their problem. In many instances, you might also dismiss mild PAD leg pain as an aging symptom and nothing more. Due to this reason, it is vital to be attentive to what your body says and be serious about all the prospective PAD symptoms. Early treatment is critical for vascular system protection.
What Causes PAD
When going through PAD, plaque build-ups occur on the blood vessel walls, restricting oxygen and blood flow to the feet and the legs. Based on the severity level, it can lead to pain in your lower legs while walking. It also results in tingling, coldness, and numbness while you’re in the resting phase.
Common PAD Risk Factors
With diabetes, you increase the PAD risk. You can also be at higher PAD risk when you:
- Got any history of heart disease in your family
- Are you suffering from high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Ever had a stroke or heart attack earlier
- Are obese or overweight
- Are a smoker
- Are not active physically
- Over aged 50 years or older
You must consult your general practitioner about the risk factors. If you’re at a higher risk of Peripheral arterial disease development, they can look out for any peripheral arterial disease signs. They can also suggest essential lifestyle changes with other measures to lower the risks associated with peripheral arterial disease.
How To Make A Diagnosis
Generally, doctors use the ankle-brachial index for making a diagnosis. The process measures the arm blood pressure in the ankle. When the ankle blood pressure is lower than the arm pressure, you can have PAD.
When the doctors can’t get a precise Peripheral arterial disease diagnosis after taking only blood pressure, they might also suggest other diagnosis measures. For example, they can also order doppler ultrasound or magnetic resonance angiography.
Common Treatment Methods
In many cases, it can be possible to manage the condition with a mix of lifestyle, diet, and medication alterations. It reduces the symptoms and the risk of stroke or heart attack.
For example, the doctors can advise you to make the following changes.
- Ask you to quit smoking.
- Get a balanced diet for managing weight and blood glucose levels.
- Lower saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium in the diet for lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
- Introduce a supervised moderate-intensity workout plan where you rest while feeling any leg pain. Most doctors would suggest walking three times weekly for around 30 min daily.
- Take aspirin or antiplatelet drugs for blood thinning. It helps in better blood flow through restricted or narrow arteries.
- Take other medications, like the ones for cholesterol and diabetes, as prescribed.
- Monitor blood pressure while taking the prescribed medication.
For severe PAD cases, the doctor can suggest surgery. The surgeon uses arterial bypass or angioplasty to help open or reroute restrictions in blood vessels.
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If you’re determined to prevent peripheral arterial disease or want to stop it from worsening by making lifestyle alterations, you must follow your doctor’s advice. Keep all follow-up appointments with the vascular specialist and your general practitioner.
Also, it’s essential to take all prescription medicines timely. Knowing symptoms in advance helps in preventing any complications. In addition, it is always advisable to visit your nearest vascular center.