You may be out taking a walk, and before long, you feel pain or cramping in your leg muscles. This is the first sign of peripheral artery disease. The doctors at Vascular Health Institute in Dallas, TX have extensive experience diagnosing and treating peripheral artery disease. At the first sign of a problem, call the office or schedule an appointment online so you can get early treatment that prevents the disease from worsening.
Peripheral artery disease is a serious medical condition affecting over 8 million Americans. It occurs when blood flow is reduced due to a buildup of cholesterol that hardens into plaque, and narrows the arteries leading to your limbs. It can affect your arms or legs, but more commonly occurs in arteries supplying blood to your legs and feet.
Left untreated, PAD can lead to amputation.
The buildup of excess cholesterol in the body hardens into plaque in the arteries; narrowing or in some cases completely blocking the peripheral arteries supplying blood to the legs and feet. When the tissues in your legs and feet do not receive enough blood, it can cause serious problems, including pain, skin ulcers that won’t heal, gangrene, tissue loss, loss of mobility, and even amputation.
You may not have symptoms until your artery has narrowed by 60% or more. When symptoms start, you may experience:
Leg pain and/or cramping that happens when you are in motion that improves or stops when you are at rest is called Intermittent claudication; the most common symptom of peripheral artery disease. Reduced blood flow causes pain and cramping in your hip and leg muscles when you’re active, even if you’re just walking.
You may also experience numbness, weakness, or a feeling of heaviness in your leg muscles. The symptoms usually go away with rest, then return when you resume the activity. As peripheral artery disease worsens, you’ll have pain even at rest. When this happens, the pain can be worse when your legs are elevated, or when you lie down.
Over half of those who have PAD have no symptoms at all. So, it is important to talk to your doctor, and to be tested if you have symptoms or risk factors.
Each patient’s treatment is customized but may include recommendations for lifestyle changes (stop smoking, change diet, exercise, lose weight), management of underlying health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and medications to improve circulation, reduce cholesterol, manage blood pressure, and lower your risk of blood clots.
Specialized procedures and treatments provided by Vascular Health Institute may include:
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent cardiovascular complications. Call the Vascular Health Institute, or use the convenient online scheduling tool if you suspect that you might have PAD.