Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Common circulatory problems in which arteries reduce blood flow to limbs, normally being the legs. PAD causes leg pain while in motion caused by the lack of blood flow running throughout. The pain stops when one stops being active, this is known as Intermittent Claudiction. This can unfortunately go undiagnosed, which causes some underlying issues. These issues are symptoms such as; loss of a leg, increase of coronary artery disease, and carotid atherosclerosis. PAD may be a sign of widespread accumulation of fatty deposits, in your arteries. This condition could be reducing blood flow to your heart, brain, or legs. This causes a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Included Symptoms:

  • Painful muscle cramping in hips, thighs or calves, while walking, climbing stairs, or exercising
  • Normally goes away with rest
  • Cramping is caused by lack of blood flow

Severe PAD Symptoms:

  • Leg pain that will not go away when movement is ceased
  • Foot or toe wounds that will not heal; or heal very slowly
  • Gangrene
  • A marked decrease in temperature of your lower leg or foot particularly compared to the other leg or rest of your body.

Understanding Leg Pain:

Many people dismiss leg pain as a normal sign of aging. You may think its arthritis, sciatica or just “stiffness” from getting older. PAD leg pain occurs in the muscles, not the joints. Those with diabetes confuse PAD pain with neuropathy, a common diabetic symptom that is a burning or painful discomfort of the feet or thighs.

Rates By Which Ones Are Affected

  • Affects 12% of the U.S population, the equivalence of 8-12 million Americans
  • Likelihood increases with age
  • 65 and older affects 9.6 to 16 million people

Controlled Risk Factors:

  • Smokers
  • Weight
  • Physical Inactiveness
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Cholesterol

Uncontrolled Risk Factors:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular Disease

Ways to Diagnose PAD

A physical examination begins the diagnosis process. Some examples include

  • Ankle-Bronchial Index (ABI) – This compares the blood pressure in your feet to it in your arms, determining how the blood is flowing. This only takes a few minutes to finish.
  • Doppler and Ultrasound (duplex) Imaging- This exam is a non-invasive method allows a visualization of the artery using sound waves.
  • Computed Tomographic Angiography (CT) – Non-invasive exam used by interventional radiologist to visualize the arteries in the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. Uses X-ray technology and helps substantially well with those having a pacemaker and stent.
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) – Non-invasive exam with similar information as a CT, but uses magnets rather than X-rays to produce imagery.
  • Angiography- reserved normally with use in conjunction with vascular treatment and procedures. During this an injection of a contrast is put into the artery. X-rays are taken to visualize blood flow, view arteries in the leg, and pinpoint blockages.

Treatments:

  • Angioplasty- This is a procedure used to open blocked or narrowed blood vessels caused by peripheral arterial disease or other conditions.
  • Stent- A tiny mesh cylinder, that opens up and keeps open the vessel passage way.
  • Sometimes medicine is administered through a catheter to defuse the problem.
  • Surgery is only necessary with long portions of completely blocked vessel parts.