Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, has common signs as tiredness when waking and cramping, or pain in your lower extremities. These can be annoying and you should do something to change the feeling. According to The American Heart Association (AHA) this disease often stays untreated because the doctors can mistake it for something else. It is crucial to know the signs of this disease so you can seek for help when needed.
PAD is most common in the arteries of the legs, but it can occur in the stomach, arms and head too. It is caused by atherosclerosis that blocks the arteries in these parts of the body. Another thing that is important is that this disease can lead to a higher risk for heart attack or stroke.
The main causes can be smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight and not being active. People that have diabetes can have the worse version of this disease.
Signs and Symptoms
-Pain in your legs that occurs when you exercise, and stops when you rest
– Wounds that heal poorly
– Area of the body affected is cooler than the rest
– The skin is shiny (over legs or arms if this area is affected)
– Loss of hair on the legs
– Fainter pulse in feet
PAD can happen to some people without experiencing any pain or symptoms. This is because the body makes new blood vessels to grow around the blockages.
According to the AHA, your doctor can check you up to see if you have the disease if you were previously misdiagnosed. The test can be on your ankle-brachial index, which compares the blood pressure at your feet with the blood pressure in your upper arm. MRI, CT scan, or angiography can also be made, but especially to those whose case is severe.
Treatment and Prevention
You should consult your doctor for the ways you can treat your disease. The treatments are mostly focused on reducing the symptoms and finding ways to prevent the further progression of the disease. You should also make some lifestyle changes like:
– Increasing physical activity
– Eating a healthy diet
– Quitting smoking
– Taking medication to reduce high blood pressure and/or lower cholesterol
Keep in mind that treating PAD and preventing PAD is very similar. The best thing you can do about this is to exercise more, eat well, stop smoking and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check.
In the end, a few patients affected with PAD will need a procedure like an angioplasty to open up the artery that’s been clogged or a stent insertion to keep the artery open.