PAD or peripheral artery disease shows signs like tiredness while walking and cramping or pain in the lower extremities. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the doctors often fail to detect this conditions since they mistake it for something else. This is why it is crucial to know the signs and the symptoms in order to help your doctor detect it on time.
For those who didn’t know, PAD is actually the narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the legs, stomach, arms and head. However, the arteries in the legs are mostly affected. Atherosclerosis is the major trigger for PAD since it narrows and blocks arteries in these critical regions of the body. It should also be mentioned that people dealing with PAD are more prone to heart attack and stroke.
There are various different triggers such as being physically inactive, high cholesterol, being overweight, smoking, and high blood pressure. Diabetes can make it much worse.
Signs and Symptoms
According to WebMD, symptoms of PAD include:
On the other hand, some people do not experience any of the abovementioned symptoms which happens when the body makes new blood vessels grow around the blockages.
In most of the cases, PAD is misdiagnosed, but luckily there are some ways in which your doctor can see whether you are affected by this disease. For instance, the doctor can test your ankle-brachial index, which compares the blood pressure at your feet with the blood pressure in your upper arm. Besides that, the doctor can also perform imaging tests like angiography, CT or MRI scan.
Treatment and Prevention
According to AHA, when it comes to PAD, the doctors are focusing on reducing the symptoms and finding ways to prevent further progression of the disease. For instance, you should make some of the following lifestyle changes:
However, the best solution is to prevent PAD from occurring in the first place, so you will need to quit smoking, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, eat well and exercise on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, there are those patients who need a procedure known as angioplasty in order to open up the artery that’s clogged or a stent insertion to keep the artery open. These are minimally invasive procedures.