Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is a common circulatory disorder when fat and other debris build up in the arteries. This buildup is known as plaque, and it slowly restricts blood flow to certain parts of your body. In most cases, this means you’re more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke and less likely to heal from injuries and infections. In rare cases, you can lose a limb. In the early stages of PAD, it may not cause any symptoms. But as the disease progresses, you may feel pain or numbness in your leg when walking. People with PAD also tend to have poor balance and coordination. If you think you have PAD, you should talk to a doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating peripheral artery disease in Frisco.
Most people develop PAD due to atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the arteries. This occurs when fat and other debris build up on artery walls. This condition can be worsened by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, smoking, diabetes, or obesity. In rare cases, people who have had surgery to treat heart disease may develop PAD later.
The condition may also come up due to another condition called Berger’s disease. This is a type of vasculitis or inflammation of the blood vessels. It most often affects people who smoke.
PAD doesn’t always cause symptoms, so you may not know if you have it. However, some people experience leg pain when walking, also known as intermittent claudication. This most often manifests itself where the muscles are closest to the skin’s surface. For instance, this occurs most often in your calves or thighs. You may also experience feelings of tightness or cramping, numbness, weakness, and itchiness in your legs. Sometimes people only feel the symptoms when they’re active, but other times these symptoms may come on even when you’re at rest. People with PAD are also more likely to have reduced balance and coordination.
If you think you have PAD, your doctor can test it using many different techniques. First, they will likely ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam. They may also order other tests to rule out other conditions. These include an ankle-brachial index, which involves measuring the blood pressure in your arms and ankles with a plethysmograph device. Your doctor may also perform an ultrasound on your arteries to check for narrowing.
The treatment of PAD depends on your symptoms. If you just have leg pain when walking, your doctor may suggest that you try losing weight. Additionally, they might prescribe certain medications to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation. If you have claudication that does not improve with these medications, your doctor may cut off the circulation to your leg or remove part of it. This is called a limb salvage procedure. It’s also possible that they will recommend surgery for this problem. Besides these treatments, your doctor may recommend specific dietary changes, such as eating more fresh produce to reduce atherosclerosis.
In summary, peripheral artery disease is a circulatory disorder when fat and other debris build up in the arteries. If untreated, it could lead to severe problems like heart attacks or leg amputation. However, PAD doesn’t always cause symptoms, so you should go to your doctor if you think you have it. They will likely perform tests to diagnose the condition. Treatment for PAD depends on your symptoms but can include medications, surgery, or lifestyle changes to reduce atherosclerosis.