Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
At Metro Heart & Vascular, our nationally-recognized specialists are among the leading experts in diagnosis and treatment of peripheral vascular disease, including Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to arms and legs (usually the legs). PAD is caused by fatty buildups (plaque) that harden inside arteries and reduce or block blood flow (atherosclerosis), usually to the legs, feet, fingers and toes – often causing numbness or leg pain when walking. These blockages also cause tissue damage, sometimes leading to severe damage and amputation. PAD is also likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart and brain, in addition to the legs.
Approximately 10 million people in the United States have PAD although many experience no symptoms. Others have leg pain when walking, known as intermittent claudication. This includes muscle pain or cramping in your legs or arms that is prompted by activity and disappears after rest. Other symptoms include numbness or weakness in your legs, your leg or foot feels cold, open sores on your legs, feet, or toes won’t heal, a change in the skin color of your legs, loss of hair on your feet and legs, slower growth of your toenails, shiny skin on your legs, a weak pulse or no pulse in your legs or feet and erectile dysfunction in men.
Anyone at risk for heart disease is also susceptible to PAD, including people over 50 with a history of diabetes, smoking, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history of PAD and obesity. People with PAD are also at high risk for heart attack and stroke.
The best way to prevent PAD is to reduce your risk factors. If you smoke, quitting is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of complications. Other steps you can take are to exercise and eat a healthy diet. If you have diabetes, careful foot care is especially important, because you are at an even higher risk of poor healing of sores on the lower legs and feet.
At Metro Heart & Vascular, we take a comprehensive and coordinated team approach to the treatment of PAD. Our team will work with you in developing an appropriate and personalized treatment plan. These plans have two major goals: manage symptoms and stop the progression of fatty buildups. Treatments often include a combination of lifestyle changes, medications and minimally-invasive endovascular procedures.