Signs of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Signs of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

When you think of clogged arteries, you might automatically think of heart disease. But the buildup of plaque along blood vessel walls — known as atherosclerosis — can affect any artery in your body. 

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is narrowing or blockage in the peripheral arteries, which are the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood in your arms and legs. More than 8 million people in the United States have PAD. When left undiagnosed and untreated, PAD may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. 

At Advanced Vascular Solutions in Sebastian, Florida, Dr. Hadi Shalhoub and our team specialize in diagnosing and treating PAD. We want to help our patients get the care they need sooner rather than later in order to prevent health complications. Here, we share some of the signs of PAD.

About PAD

PAD is a circulation problem that affects the arteries that run from your heart to all of the other organs and tissues in your body. With PAD, the arteries become narrow or blocked, affecting the flow of blood to your extremities.

Plaque buildup along the blood vessel wall is the most common cause of PAD. Plaque forms from the fatty deposits, cholesterol, and other substances that move through your bloodstream. These substances combine and stick to the blood vessel wall, slowly building up over time.

Though PAD may affect any peripheral artery, the condition most often affects the arteries in your legs. 

Signs of PAD

If you experience muscle cramping in your legs, hips, or buttocks when you walk or climb stairs that goes away when you rest, you may have PAD. This type of leg pain, known as claudication, is the most common symptom of PAD. Other signs and symptoms of PAD include:

Only about one out of every four people with PAD experience symptoms. 

Risk factors for PAD

When left undiagnosed and untreated, PAD may increase your risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, or stroke. If you don’t have any of the common symptoms of PAD, you may want to schedule a screening if you have some of the risk factors, such as:

People who smoke or have diabetes are at the greatest risk of developing the blood vessel disease. 

Treating PAD

Treatment for PAD focuses on alleviating your symptoms, if you have any, and preventing progression of the disease and the related health complications. We perform arterial ultrasounds to diagnose PAD, assess the severity of the disease, and determine the best treatment. 

To start, we recommend adopting heart-healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a healthier diet, getting regular exercise, and smoking cessation. We may also add medications to manage risk factors, such as cholesterol-lowering medication or blood pressure medication.

For severe narrowing or blockages, you may need an interventional procedure such as angioplasty to open the narrowed artery, bypass surgery to reroute blood flow, or thrombolytic therapy to break up blood clots. 

Despite being one of the major risk factors for having a heart attack or stroke, PAD often goes undiagnosed. Don’t ignore the signs and symptoms. Schedule an appointment with our experts by calling the office or clicking the “Book online” button today.

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