Why an Early Diagnosis of Peripheral Arterial Disease is Critical

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is relatively common, affecting more than 9 million people in the U.S. It is more prevalent in people who are 65 and older, but it can happen at any age. High blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity increase the risk for PAD. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical because PAD can increase your risk of a heart attack, stroke, and transient ischemic attack. Additionally, if the PAD is left untreated, it can lead to gangrene, and in severe cases lead to amputation.

What is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?

Peripheral arterial disease is characterized as the narrowing of the peripheral arteries in the legs, stomach, arms, and head. PAD is caused by the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries outside the heart, usually, the arteries supplying fresh blood and oxygen to the legs, arms, and feet.

Symptoms of PAD

While millions of people in the United States suffer from the disease, 60% show no signs. If you have symptoms, they may include:

  • Aching, pain, numbness, or a feeling of heaviness in your leg muscles.
  • Cramping in the thighs, buttocks, calves, and feet.
  • Consistent leg pain that won’t go away after exercise
  • Toe or foot wounds that do not heal or heal very slowly.
  • Coldness of your foot or lower leg.
  • Poor toenail growth or hair growth on legs.

Is Peripheral Arterial Disease Dangerous?

PAD can result in crippling pain, a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and even gangrene, but the condition is amenable to secondary prevention. This is why the early diagnosis of PAD is critical.

Possible Treatments

PAD can be controlled or even reversed with the proper care. Doctors diagnose PAD with a physical exam, heart and imaging tests. Treatments that doctors may recommend include: lifestyle changes like dietary changes, exercise, and lowering high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, medicines, and sometimes surgery. The specialists at the PA Vascular Institute offer calf cramp treatments in Philadelphia, PA, and other treatments for patients with PAD looking for leg and foot pain relief.

Contact a Physician

The doctors at the PA Vascular Institute are specialized in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease. From ulcer care to artery and leg vein treatments in Philadelphia, our goal is to provide patients with the best healthcare services possible and to get them better as quickly as possible.

Those who suspect they may have peripheral arterial disease are encouraged to call and schedule an appointment with one of our seasoned medical professionals at 800-614-7294.