Patients suffering from PAD may also experience pain in the legs while walking because of the lack of adequate blood supply to the legs.
Furthermore, peripheral artery disease can also indicate that the arteries can be experiencing deposits of fats. As a result, the arteries may become narrow, leading to possibilities of heart issues if left untreated.
Although this disease could lead to serious repercussions if left untreated, it can actually be treated pretty well with medication and a few lifestyle changes. As part of the treatment, the doctor may recommend that the patient give up tobacco consumption in any form. They will also be advised to exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet pattern.
While some patients diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) can display mild or no symptoms, a section of them could experience claudication. It is a condition in which cramping pain is experienced in the leg. The pain may be caused by the obstruction of the arteries and could also be caused by exercising. However, the severity of claudication can vary. While some may experience mild discomfort, others could be dealing with debilitating pain. Patients suffering from severe claudication could find it challenging to walk and perform other types of physical activity.
Other symptoms of this disease can include muscle pain or cramping in the legs or hands that can be triggered when an activity is performed. The cramping and pain could disappear after resting for a period. The location of the pain experienced in the hands and legs can depend on where the narrow arteries are located.
A few common signs and symptoms of peripheral artery disease include:
● Painful cramping is experienced in the hips and the thighs or calf muscles after performing particular physical activity.
● Legs becoming weak and numb.
● Coldness experienced in lower leg or foot.
● Sores in the feet or legs or on the toes could refuse to heal.
● Color change noticed in the legs.
● Loss of hair or reduced hair growth on your feet and legs.
● Toenails reportedly grow at a slower pace.
● Shiny skin on the legs.
● Weak or absolutely no pulse in the feet or legs.
● Pain experienced in the arms while performing physical activities like knitting and writing.
If the disease progresses, the patient can experience pain while resting or lying down. It could even give the patient sleepless nights.
Risk factors like age and hereditary associated with the disease are beyond one’s control. However, a few risk factors that can impact the risk of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) are discussed here.
In no order of importance, we have listed the six risk factors you can control to help prevent Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
1. Tobacco Use
Cigarette smoking is one of the most common reasons people suffer from PAD; ironically, it is also one of the most preventable causes of peripheral artery disease. According to estimates, smokers have 4 times higher chances of suffering from PAD than their non-smoking counterparts. The chemicals laced in cigarettes can contribute to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. It can damage cells of the blood vessels besides cause inflammation.
People with diabetes are at a high risk of also suffering from peripheral artery disease. High blood sugar can result in abnormalities in blood vessels that may cause atherosclerosis. Also, among the diabetic, patients with elevated levels of fat and cholesterol in their bloodstreams could be at a considerable risk of acquiring PAD as abnormally high fat and cholesterol levels could indicate fat deposits in the veins. Sadly, if PAD develops simultaneously when diabetes progresses, it could leave the patient with a substantial risk of a heart attack, stroke, and amputation.
3. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure damages the artery walls as force is used to push through the blood vessel. As a result, rough spots are created, giving way to cholesterol accumulation.
4. High Cholesterol
The impact of cholesterol in the bloodstream depends on total cholesterol and high and low-density lipoproteins. Cholesterol, when consumed, is converted into fat in the small intestine.
Lipoproteins travel via blood, and they contain two different cholesterol and protein types, which are known as high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) and low-density lipoproteins (LDLs).
While HDL is good cholesterol, as it removes cholesterol from the blood, LDL stays in the blood. The cholesterol it transports could clog the arteries and can result in PAD.
5. Being Obese
The obese can have chances of experiencing high blood pressure and acquiring diabetes, which could cause PAD. Additionally, being overweight can increase system-wide and vascular inflammation. Extra weight around the waist may also increase the chances of PAD.
6. Sedentary Lifestyle
Physical activity can prevent the chances of acquiring PAD and lower the chances of other risk factors. An exercise routine can help maintain a healthy weight and decrease blood pressure and cholesterol risk.
The chances of acquiring PAD can be lowered if a few lifestyle changes are implemented. To keep PAD at bay, one should consider giving up smoking, consuming a healthy diet, getting into an exercise regime, and losing extra weight. Ironically, all the four are connected. A nutritional diet can help keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
If the disease is caused due to the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, the patient could be at risk of developing:
● Critical limb ischemia may occur when injuries or infections progress and result in tissue death instead of healing. Under certain circumstances, the doctor may recommend amputation of the affected limb.
● Stroke and heart attack may occur when fat is deposited in the arteries supplying blood to the heart and brain.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health estimates that an individual with PAD has a six or seven times higher risk of also acquiring coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, or a transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke) compared to a person who is not suffering from the disease.
Furthermore, patients suffering from heart disease or disorder can have a 1 in 3 chance of suffering from peripheral artery disease in the legs. The CDC estimates that about 6.5 million Americans over 40 have peripheral arterial disease.
If you wish to get tested for peripheral artery disease, you can visit a specialist at the Georgia Vascular Institute. Additionally, if you have any of the symptoms and the risk factors that are associated with the disease, it would be best to test for peripheral artery disease. Feel free to get in touch with Georgia Vascular Institute.