What Is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?
Peripheral arterial disease – also known as PAD – is a common, yet serious, disease that raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. PAD develops when arteries in your legs become clogged with plaque. Plaque is fatty deposits that limit blood flow to your legs.
Who Is At Risk for Peripheral Arterial Disease?
Adults over age 50 are at risk for PAD. It affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States, especially those over age 50. The risk for PAD increases if you smoke or used to smoke; have diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol; or have a history of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke.
What Are Symptoms of PAD?
- Intermittent Claudication – Leg pain while walking
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared to the other side
- Sores on your toes, feet, or legs
- A change in the color of your legs
- Hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs
- Slower growth of your toenails
- Shiny skin on your legs
- No pulse or weak pulse in your legs and feet
Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatment
- Lifestyle modifications
- Minimally invasive surgical procedures
- Early detection and treatment is important to control the PAD disease and allow you a full selection of treatment options
P.A.D. treatment often includes making long-lasting lifestyle changes. If you have P.A.D., or are aiming to lower your risk, your health care provider may prescribe one or more of the following:
- Quit smoking. Don’t smoke, and if you do, quit. Lower your numbers.
- Work with your health care provider to correct any high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels.
- Follow a healthy eating plan. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
- Get moving. Make a commitment to be more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
- Aim for a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, work with your health care provider to develop a supervised weight loss plan.
Medication for Peripheral Arterial Disease
In addition to lifestyle modifications, your health care provider may prescribe one or more medications that help:
- Lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and treat diabetes
- Prevent the formation of blood clots that could cause a heart attack or stroke
- Help reduce leg pain while walking or climbing stairs
- Peripheral Arterial Disease Clinical Treatments
- For people suffering from Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), the buildup of plaque in the arteries of the legs often leads to severe and even debilitating leg pain. When the plaque becomes “calcified,” limited options have been available to successfully treat the problem – until now.
Angioplasty is used in conjunction with stenting and atherectomy. During an angioplasty, your vascular surgeon inflates a small balloon inside a narrowed blood vessel. The balloon helps to widen your blood vessel and improve blood flow. After widening the vessel with angioplasty, your vascular surgeon sometimes inserts a stent depending upon the circumstances. Stents are tiny metal mesh tubes that support your artery walls to keep your vessels wide open.
Angioplasty and stenting are usually done through a small puncture, or sometimes a small incision, in your skin, called the access site. Your interventional radiologist inserts a long, thin tube called a catheter through this access site. Using X-ray guidance, your physician then guides the catheter through your blood vessels to the blocked area. The tip of the catheter carries the angioplasty balloon or stent.
Atherectomy involves removing the plaque burden within the vessel wall. Increasing the vessel lumen by removing the plaque burden improves downstream wound healing, reduces claudication and pushes amputation levels more distal.
To learn more about peripheral arterial disease and procedures, visit:
- Cardiovascular Systems, Inc.
- P.A.D. Coalition
- About P.A.D.
- My Leg My Choice
- Love Your Limbs
- Legs for Life
We Have Two Locations to Treat Peripheral Arterial Disease