Peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD, is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs, stomach and head. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis which narrows and blocks arteries in critical regions of the body. There are more than 3 million cases in the United States, and fortunately, it can be treated with professional help.
Symptoms and Awareness
The most common symptoms of peripheral artery disease include cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking up or down stairs. This pain typically subsides during rest, but starts again when walking or moving around. This type of muscle pain that gets worse with activity and better with rest is called “claudication”.
Oftentimes, PAD can go unnoticed. When this condition is left untreated, it can cause wounds to heal slower than usual and can lead to gangrene and possible amputation. In addition, having PAD can lead to a higher risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke.
Risks and Treatments
Some factors that can increase your chances of peripheral artery disease are age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes. In most cases, a lifestyle change, exercise and claudication medications can slow the progression or even reverse the symptoms of PAD.
Practicing healthy habits, taking medication to lower cholesterol and giving up smoking are some of the best ways to help prevent or reduce symptoms. Getting your diabetes and high blood pressure under control is very important as well. Walking every day can also help your symptoms. If symptoms remain the same or get worse, PAD can be cured with minimally invasive procedure options. Do not let symptoms go untreated, recruit the help of an AMS physician.