Pain or discomfort in your legs may be a warning sign of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). As many as 8-12 million Americans have this condition. The Board Certified Vein and Vascular Specialists serving the areas of Crestview Hills, KY, Northern Kentucky, and Cincinnati, OH, feature a team of board-certified vascular and interventional radiologists who provide expert care for peripheral arterial disease. They manage your condition with lifestyle changes and medications tailored to you. Call today to set up a consultation or book your visit online.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Q & A
What is peripheral arterial disease?
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition affecting your circulation. It’s also known as peripheral vascular disease.
PAD typically occurs when an unhealthy amount of fatty plaque builds up in your peripheral arteries. This narrows these arteries, preventing blood from flowing properly through your legs and feet.
Having peripheral arterial disease that affects your legs may be a sign that there’s also atherosclerosis in other parts of your body, which can further harm your health. Atherosclerosis can affect blood flow throughout your body, depriving organs like your heart, brain, kidneys, and other tissues of vital oxygen, which can lead to stroke and heart attack.
What are the symptoms of peripheral arterial disease?
PAD produces symptoms in around half of the individuals with the condition. Common symptoms to look for include:
- Leg pain and cramps
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Cold legs or feet
- A change in skin color
- Hair loss on your feet and legs
- Sores that don’t heal
- Leg skin that looks shiny
Contact the team at Vascular & Interventional Associates for an evaluation if you notice any of these warning signs. It’s important to take peripheral arterial disease seriously since the condition can lead to debilitating consequences. Untreated PAD may cost you a foot or a leg if circulation to your limb no longer functions properly.
Who gets peripheral arterial disease?
You're more prone to get peripheral arterial disease if you have the following risk factors:
- Being over age 50
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking (now or in the past)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Because you may not have symptoms when you have PAD, it’s important to get screened if you’re at greater risk of getting the disease.
How is peripheral arterial disease diagnosed?
Your specialist at Vascular & Interventional Associates begins by taking a comprehensive medical history and reviewing your risk factors. They thoroughly examine the condition of your feet and legs.
Your provider may suggest tests to diagnose peripheral arterial disease and determine the severity of the disease. For example, a test called an ankle-brachial index can compare the blood pressure in your arm and ankle. This test uses an inflatable cuff, similar to a blood pressure test. If the pressure in your ankle is worse than in your arm, you might have PAD.
An ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a computed tomography (CT) scan may be ordered to look closely at the circulation in your legs and feet.
How is peripheral arterial disease treated?
Your provider at Vascular & Interventional Associates suggests making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking if you’re a smoker. They may prescribe blood thinners or drugs to address high cholesterol or high blood pressure, two conditions that affect artery health.
If needed, the team may recommend angioplasty and stent placement to keep certain arteries open to improve blood flow.
If you’re worried about poor circulation, you can rely on the team at Vascular & Interventional Associates for expert diagnosis and care. Call the office today or book a consultation online.
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