Peripheral artery disease is the disease of the blood vessels in the body apart from the ones in the brain and the heart. In this condition, the blood vessels become narrow due to deposits of fatty buildup, thereby, restricting the flow of blood to the arms, the legs, the kidneys, and the stomach. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is also known as peripheral arterial disease or peripheral vascular disease in which both veins and arteries are included. PAD is most commonly observed in the older population with atherosclerosis, which is a condition of the blood vessels in which they become hard due to aging. Peripheral arterial disease is a major risk factor for stroke and heart attack-, and men are more likely to be affected than women.
At CARE Hospitals, our multidisciplinary team of highly qualified and board-certified doctors along with other care providers offer a variety of diagnostic and treatment services to patients with a wide spectrum of medical needs. Using state-of-the-art machines equipped with modern technology, our medical specialists provide end-to-end care to patients to ensure proper diagnosis, treatments, and recovery.
More often than not, people suffering from PAD do not know of their condition until they undergo a diagnosis for some other disease or problem. However, there are some signs and symptoms of peripheral artery disease in patients suffering from this condition:
Hair loss or slow growth of hair on legs and feet,
Weakness and numbness of the legs,
Colder foot in comparison to the other foot,
The slow growth of toenails or brittleness of the toenails,
Sores and ulcers on the legs that do not heal,
Shiny or pale blue skin of the legs,
Very weak to almost no pulse in the legs and feet,
Erectile dysfunction in men,
Intermittent claudication- constant pain in the legs while walking or standing.
The most common cause of the peripheral arterial disease is atherosclerosis is a condition of a gradual buildup of fatty material in the arteries. Other less common causes of PAD are blood clots in the arteries, injury to the limbs, and abnormal anatomy of the muscles and ligaments.
The risk factors that contribute to peripheral arterial disease are:
High blood pressure
High level of homocysteine
Family history of stroke and heart attack.
Cardiovascular specialists at CARE Hospitals offer various diagnostic services using appropriate procedures and tests for patients with a wide range of medical needs. The diagnostic services appropriate for diagnosing peripheral artery disease are:
This is the most common test for peripheral artery disease that compares the blood pressure in the ankles with that of the arms.
Ultrasound, angiography, and blood tests:
These tests may be performed to determine blood homocysteine level as well as cholesterol and C-reactive protein levels in the blood.
Doppler ultrasound imaging:
Doppler ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging procedure utilizing sound waves to visualize the arteries and measure the flow of blood in an artery to detect any blockage in the artery.
Computed tomography (CT) angiography
CT angiography is another non-invasive diagnostic method to provide images of the arteries of the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. This diagnostic procedure is especially useful in patients with a pacemaker or a stent in place.
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)
MRA is another imaging technique providing images of the arteries but without using an X-ray.
Angiography is usually performed in conjunction with a vascular treatment procedure. In this method, contrast dye is used to illuminate the artery under X-rays and locate the position of the blockage.
Undiagnosed peripheral artery disease can be hazardous and lead to painful symptoms, stroke or heart attack, and even amputation of a limb. It can also lead to carotid artery problems and coronary artery diseases.
Our board-certified cardiovascular specialists offer consultation and treatments to patients with the peripheral arterial disease according to the stage and severity of the disease. There are two major goals of treatment for PAD-
Manage physical symptoms to return to normal activities without causing strain,
Terminate the progress of atherosclerosis throughout the body to reduce the chances of coronary artery diseases such as a stroke or a heart attack.
Our specialists may recommend lifestyle changes to manage physical symptoms and the progress of atherosclerosis if the peripheral artery disease is at an early stage. Medications may be recommended for managing the following conditions:
Cholesterol- Medications for lowering cholesterol levels, called a statin, can help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Diabetes- Patients already on medication for diabetes may need to alter dosage for controlling the progressive peripheral arterial disease.
Blood pressure- Patients with high blood pressure may be recommended medications to lower it.
Blood clots- Doctors may recommend medications that will ensure better flow of blood through the arteries and prevent blood clots.
Symptom relieving- Some specific drugs can help manage the symptoms of peripheral artery disease by increasing blood flow to the limbs, either by thinning the blood, widening the blood vessels, or both. Such medications are especially useful for treating leg pain.
In some cases where the peripheral artery disease is causing claudication, surgical treatment may be required, which may include:
During angioplasty, a catheter is inserted into the blood vessel with a balloon attached to its top which inflates and widens the artery along with flattening the plaque. A stent may also be placed along with this procedure to keep the artery wide open for unhindered blood flow.
The surgeon may create a path around the blocked artery by using the patient's blood vessel from another part of the body or by using a synthetic graft for providing an alternate channel for blood flow.
If a blood clot is the reason for a blocked artery, clot-dissolving medication can help open up the artery.
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