Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a highly prevalent disease characterized by blockage in the arteries of the lower extremities. Individuals with PAD face a markedly increased risk of heart attack, amputation, stroke, and death.
Treatment ranges from lifestyle changes to surgery depending on severity. The podiatrists & surgeons of AFACC always look to conservative treatment first, and only suggest surgery when absolutely necessary.
To have yourself checked for Peripheral Arterial Disease, fill out the form to the left or contact the AFACC clinic nearest you today for an appointment. To read more about the causes, symptoms and treatment options of PAD, read below.
What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?
Peripheral Arterial Disease, or PAD for short, is the reduction of blood flow to the legs and feet, caused by plaque build up in the arteries. This condition is commonly referred to as poor circulation.
PAD occurs most often in the arteries in the legs, but it can also affect other arteries that carry blood outside the heart, including arteries that go to the aorta, the brain, the arms, the kidneys, and the stomach.
PAD and diabetes are the leading causes of foot or leg amputations in the United States, and individuals with PAD have a two-to-six times’ greater chance or heart attack or stroke related death.
Causes of Arterial Disease
Peripheral Arterial Disease affects 8 to 12 million Americans, and one in every five people over the age of 70 has the disease. Some of the key causes and risk factors of PAD include:
- Advanced age
- High blood cholesterol
Common Signs & Symptoms
Less than half of those affected by PAD know they are suffering from the disease – many individuals either tolerate or do not experience symptoms associated to PAD.
Although not all of those diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease will experience symptoms, some of the more common associated signs of PAD include:
- Fatigue, tiredness, or pain in your legs, thighs or buttocks when walking (but goes away with rest)
- Foot or toe pain at rest that often disturbs your sleep
- Skin wounds or ulcers on your feet or toes that are slow to heal (or that do not heal for 8 to 12 weeks)
- Cramping in the feet or legs
- Physical inactivity
- High blood pressure
Diagnosis & Treatment Options
Early detection of PAD can offer an opportunity to treat risk factors that can slow the progression of the disease and decrease the chance of heart attack & stroke.
Your podiatric physician can do a simple test to determine if you have PAD. This test is called ABI, which stands for ankle- brachial index. It compares the blood pressure in your ankles with the blood pressure in your arm. If your ABI is abnormal, your podiatric physician may order additional tests to determine the extent of your PAD.
PAD can often be treated with lifestyle changes and/or medication. In some cases, surgery may be required – the podiatrists at AFACC look to noninvasive treatment first, and only recommend surgery when absolutely necessary.
Since people with PAD are at high risk for heart attacks and stroke, they must take charge of controlling their risk factors related to cardiovascular disease. To have your PAD assessed or treated, find the AFACC clinic nearest you, and contact us to schedule an appointment today.