Peripheral artery disease or PDA is manifested with signs such as tiredness as you walk and cramp and as well as showing pain in the lower extremities. PAD is in fact the narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the legs, stomach, arms and head. However, the most affected are the legs.
Atherosclerosis is the main cause for PAD since it narrows and obstructs arteries in these critical parts of the body. Persons struggling with PAD are more susceptible to heart attack. Yet, doctors have often difficulties in diagnosing it as it is frequently mistaken with another condition, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).For that reason, it is crucial to be familiar with the signs and the symptoms so that your physician can detect it on time.
There are also plenty other various causes for the occurrence of PAD like high cholesterol, being physically inactive, obesity, smoking, and hypertension. On the other hand, diabetes can make it even worse.
Signs and Symptoms of PAD
- Wounds with difficulties in healing
- The affected body area is cooler than the rest
- Shiny skin (over legs or arms if this area is affected)
- Hair loss on legs
- Leg pain occurring when starting to exercise, then stops when you rest
- Fainter pulse in feet
However, some percentage of people dealing with PAD do not experience any of the abovementioned signs which happen when the body makes blood vessels grow around the blockages.
Diagnosis of PAD
As mentioned before PAD is often misdiagnosed, but there are some ways in which your doctor can determine if you are affected by this ailment. One of the ways is testing the ankle-brachial index, which compares the blood pressure at your feet with the blood pressure in your arm. Likewise, your doctor can do imaging tests such as angiography, CT or MRI scan.
Treatment and Prevention of PAD
When PAD id being treated doctors are more focused on lowering the symptoms and searching for ways to prevent further development of the disease.
Nonetheless, you need to make changes in your lifestyle in order to prevent its occurrence or to stop it further to progress. Here they are:
- Incorporate a healthy diet
- Increase physical activity
- Quit smoking
- Take medication to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol
Try to oblige to these ways of lifestyle, above all stop smoking, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, eat healthy foods and workout regularly.
However, some patients cannot improve their condition with these changes, and therefore they need to undergo a procedure known as angioplasty which opens up the artery that is clogged or a stent insertion is performed in order to keep the artery open, and these are the minimal intrusive procedures.