Peripheral Artery Disease Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

PAD is stenosis in the arteries of the leg, causing difficulty in walking, harsh pain, and weak blood circulation. Atherosclerosis is one of the reasons behind PAD.

Peripheral Artery Disease Symptoms:

Even though most patients have little or no symptoms for PAD, but the most common symptom is pain in the leg during moving and walking, Leg pain comes in the form of claudication or muscle pain and sometimes it occurs during rest, but usually resolves after moments of rest.

Site of pain is related to the site of artery stenosis. But pain in the calves is the most common form, Degree of pain varies between discomforts up to immobilizing pain. Increased pain may cause difficulty in walking or moving generally.

Symptoms may appear as the following:

  1. Claudication pain in the calves, hips or thighs after some activities as walking and climbing stairs.
  2. Numbness or weakness in the leg.
  3. Coldness in the leg or foot in comparison to the other side.
  4. Sores in the toes, foot or leg that do not heal.
  5. Discoloration of the leg.
  6. Loss of hair and slow growth of hair in leg or foot.
  7. Slow growth of nails.
  8. Shiny skin over the legs.
  9. Disappearance of pulse or weakness in the leg and foot.
  10. Erectile dysfunction in men.

In case the diseases develops further, pain may start to arise during rest, and may be hard enough to disrupt sleep. Hanging your leg on the side of the bed or walking around the room may relieve the pain.

When to consult a doctor?

If you have pain in your leg, or numbness or any other symptom, don’t undermine them or consider them symptoms of aging and visit your doctor.

Peripheral Artery Disease Causes?

Usually, PAD is caused by Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis takes place through depositing of plaques or clumps of fat along the walls of the arteries, which cause difficulty in the flow of blood.

Atherosclerosis takes place all over the body. But when it happens in extremities, we call it PAD.

In other cases, PAD may be caused by inflammation in the vessels or injury to the leg.

Risk factors:

  1. Smoking.
  2. Diabetes.
  3. Obesity.
  4. High bp.
  5. High cholesterol levels.
  6. Old age, especially over 50.
  7. Family history of PAD, cardiac diseases, or stroke.

Knowing that smokers and diabetics are the most prone to PAD.

Peripheral Artery Disease Complications:

If PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, in this case chances of the following increase:

  1. Critical Limb Ischemia: which starts as sores that do not heal, wound, or foot or leg infection, which develops into gangrene which may need to be amputated.
  2. Stroke or heart attack: because Atherosclerosis takes place all over the body, and in this case it may cause a heart attack.

Peripheral Artery Disease Diagnosis:

  1. Examination to see the symptoms.
  2. Ultrasound to study efficiency of blood flow in the vessels.
  3. CT with dye.
  4. Blood cholesterol levels.

Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment:

Treatment is divided into two aspects, decreasing the effect of the symptoms on your daily routine, and stopping the disease from developing further. And this could happen through changes in your lifestyle such as quit smoking if you are smoker. But if you don’t, then you’ll only need the medications which are for:

  1. High cholesterol levels.
  2. High bp.
  3. Diabetes.
  4. Anticoagulants.
  5. Analgesics.

And if PAD has developed further, it may need surgical intervention and that’s in order to:

  1. Catheterize the clogged artery.
  2. Bypass the clogged artery.
  3. Injection of anti-clot medication.

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