Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a circulatory problem wherein there is restricted blood flow to your limbs due to narrowed arteries. When you develop PAD, your arms, and especially your legs, do not receive enough blood flow to keep up with the demand. This causes certain symptoms, such as leg pain while walking, also called claudication.
PAD is also a sign that there is a build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries, called atherosclerosis. This can narrow your arteries and reduce blood flow to your legs and sometimes, your arms. You can successfully prevent PAD by exercising regularly, quitting tobacco, and eating a healthy diet.
While many people suffering from PAD show no signs or symptoms, others experience cramping in the legs and arms that intensifies after activity such as walking but disappears at rest. The location of the pain depends on where the narrowed artery is located. Calf pain is the most common symptom. The signs and symptoms of PAD include:
- Pain and cramping in one or both legs, after walking or climbing stairs
- Leg weakness and numbness
- Coldness in your lower legs or feet
- Sores on your legs, toes, and feet that will not heal
- A change in leg colour
- Slower growth of hair or loss of hair on your feet and legs
- Slow growth of your toenails
- Shiny appearance of skin on your legs
- Absence of pulse or weak pulse in your legs and feet
- Aching and cramping pain when using your arms
- Erectile dysfunction occurring in men
If you have severe PAD, pain in your legs may even occur when you are lying down. This pain may even disrupt sleep. If this occurs, you need to hang your legs over the edge of your bed or walk slowly around the room to relieve the pain.
Risk Factors for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
There are certain risk factors for PAD. These are:
- A Body Mass Index of over 30
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Increasing age, usually above 50 or 65 years along with other risk factors
- A family history of PAD, heart disease, atherosclerosis, or stroke
- High levels of homocysteine. This is an amino acid that helps your body build and maintain tissue by helping your body build protein
Treatment for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Your doctor may recommend several measures to treat PAD. Some of them are:
- Quitting smoking: Smoking is one of the main risk factors for PAD. Quitting smoking can reduce your symptoms and your risk of complications. You should also avoid second-hand smoke.
- Eating heart-healthy foods: A heart-healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You should avoid eating saturated fats, sodium in salt, added sugars, and alcohol.
- Aiming for a healthy weight: If you are overweight it would help you to prevent PAD by losing just 3% to 5% of your body weight. This will help you manage some of the PAD risk factors, such as high cholesterol and diabetes. Losing more weight than this can help lower your blood pressure.
- Managing stress: You should learn how to manage stress, relax, and get good-quality sleep. You should also be able to effectively cope with problems, thereby improving your physical and emotional health.
- Supervised exercise program: Your doctor may recommend a supervised exercise program that takes place in a hospital or in a clinic. This exercise program may only be part of a complete cardiac rehabilitation program. PAD exercise programs usually meet about three times a week and last between 12 and 36 weeks. One of the most common exercises is walking on a treadmill. Other programs may come up with exercises to also exert the upper body. You should talk to your doctor about what exercise program is right for you.
- Home exercise program: Your doctor may recommend a home exercise program under supervision and coaching. This would be similar to the supervised exercise program that you would undergo in a hospital. Home based exercise programs involve walking outdoors, rather than on a treadmill. Each exercise session typically lasts for about 30 to 50 minutes. The goal is to get to about 30 minutes of continuous walking. The programs include coaching and activity monitoring. Your doctor will talk to you to help you understand how to get through the program. You should also talk to your doctor regularly about your progress.
- Antiplatelet medicines: These include medicines such as aspirin or clopidrogrel. These prevent blood clots from forming and blocking the arteries even further. These medicines also lower the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. There could be possible side effects of these medicines, such as bleeding or an allergic reaction. Another type of antiplatelet medication, called cilostazol, may make walking easier and may improve your symptoms. Doctors may also recommend an anticoagulant medicine, or blood thinner, to prevent blood clots. You should not start any medicines without consulting your doctor.
- Statins: These slow the build-up of plaque in the arteries and lower your risk of complications from PAD. Side effects are rare but can include muscle pain or damage.
- ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) or other medicines: These lower blood pressure and prevent the narrowing of blood vessels.
Procedures or Surgery
- Angioplasty: This procedure is done to open narrowed or blocked arteries. Your doctor may inflate a small balloon in your artery. This helps flatten the plaque. In some instances, the balloon is coated with medicine to help the artery heal. Your doctor may also insert a small mesh tube called a stent to prevent the artery from narrowing again.
- Bypass surgery:This is performed to treat severe pain, heal wounds, or save a damaged leg or foot when angioplasty will not work. Your doctor will use one of your other blood vessels or an artificial blood vessel to create another path around the blocked artery.
If you suffer from PAD, you need to consult the right vascular surgeon. One such vascular surgeon and interventional radiologist is Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala, of the Flow Vascular Clinic, located in Hyderabad, India. He is an expert at treating PAD with treatments such as angioplasty and peripheral stenting.
He will accurately diagnose your PAD. He will then treat your symptoms and the underlying disease to ensure that you do not develop any complications. Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala is not only a highly skilled surgeon who has successfully treated thousands of cases of PAD, but also an adept and empathetic communicator.
He will work closely with you throughout your diagnosis and treatment so that you experience the least pain and distress possible. So, if you suffer from PAD and need treatment, look no further than Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala and avail of the best treatment possible!
For more information about Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), as well as the treatment for DVT, or other vascular conditions, contact Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala at (+91) 9989649498 or 9959033037, or at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.drabhilash.com