Get to Learn and Understand More About Peripheral Artery Disease, Including its Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Research has shown that in every 20 Americans above 50 years of age, one of them suffers from peripheral artery disease, often known as PAD. PAD is a serious condition that increases one’s risk of getting a stroke or heart attack if left untreated. The treatment and diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease in El Paso are offered by a team of specialists who have the knowledge, ability, and experience needed.
What is peripheral artery disease?
It is a disease that affects your circulatory system causing the narrowing of the arteries of your legs and arms. It progresses such that in the later stages, it impacts blood flow to your extremities, raising the chances of you developing other serious health problems. Although it is a serious problem, it can be treated if discovered early enough. Mostly, adopting healthy lifestyles such as exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and quitting smoking ease your symptoms and improve the quality of your life.
What are the symptoms of peripheral heart disease?
The symptoms experienced are different for individuals. During the early stages, you can experience no symptoms at all. As it progresses, you may start experiencing symptoms such as:
- Leg weakness or numbness
- Slow-growing toenails
- Slow-healing wounds or ulcers on your legs and feet
- Painful cramping in the thighs, hips, or calves
- Hair loss on the feet and legs
- Shiny skin on the legs
- Erectile dysfunction in men
Who is at risk of peripheral artery disease?
The chances of you developing peripheral artery disease increase with habits such as smoking. Other factors such as being overweight, having blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes also increases the risk of you developing PAD.
How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?
The specialist first performs a physical exam and reviews your health history. If he finds out that you have a weak pulse or slow-healing wounds, he will request further tests such as Doppler ultrasound or ankle-brachial index (ABI). ABI is used to measure the difference between the blood pressure of your upper body to that of your lower body. In order to get accurate results, the doctor might request you on a treadmill first before taking any readings. Doppler ultrasound evaluates blood flow through your vessels by the use of high-frequency sound waves. This is the most efficient way of detecting narrowed or blocked arteries.
How is peripheral artery disease treated?
The specialist is always focused on preventing the progression of atherosclerosis and easing the uncomfortable symptoms. Healthy lifestyle changes are often recommended if you have mild symptoms. These changes may include managing your stress levels, losing weight, and exercising regularly. If they do not improve your symptoms, the specialist may prescribe you the following:
- Medications to prevent blood clots
- Pain relievers to address leg cramps or aching
- High blood pressure medications
- Medications to manage blood sugars
- Cholesterol-lowering medications
If your symptoms are severe, the following measures may be necessary:
- Thrombolytic therapy
- Angioplasty (with or without stenting)
- Laser atherectomy
- Bypass surgery
In summary, if you want to have yourself screened or treated for peripheral artery disease, call i-Vascular Center to schedule an appointment or book an appointment with them online today.