If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment. – Carlos Santana

What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease is a blood circulation problem in which narrowed or choked arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. The extremities of the body, usually the legs do not receive enough blood flow, and this causes leg pain when walking. The arteries can be blocked by fatty deposits called plaque which can also build up in the arteries that carry blood to the other parts of your body like the heads, limbs and other organs.

Possible Causes:

Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD is a chronic disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries to the legs, causing reduced blood supply there.

Peripheral artery disease causes include smoking, high cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney failure, and obesity.

Risk Factors:

A number of factors increase the risk of developing peripheral artery disease:

  • Obesity (a body mass index over 30).
  • Smoking.
  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Age, especially over 50 years.
  • A family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease or stroke.
  • High levels of homocysteine, a protein component.

Signs and Symptoms:

Peripheral artery disease symptoms are typically:

  • Claudification: this is the term given for painful cramping in hips, thighs or calf muscles while walking or climbing stairs.
  • Numbness or weakness of legs.
  • Coldness of the lower leg or foot.
  • Sores on the feet or legs that don’t heal.
  • A change in the colour of your legs.
  • Hair loss on the feet and legs.
  • Slower growth of your toenails.
  • The skin on your legs appears shiny.
  • No pulse or a weak pulse in the legs or feet.
  • Erectile dysfunction in men.

Diagnosis:

Visit Medcare to address your concerns about peripheral artery disease and get the right diagnosis. Here a vascular doctor may find evidence of peripheral artery disease in a physical exam, such as a weak pulse in the legs, or a sound heard over the arteries or lower blood pressure in the leg. 

An ankle-brachial index (ABI) is the most common test used to diagnose peripheral artery disease. This compares the blood pressure in your ankle with that in your arm. Other investigations such as an ultrasound or angiography may also be chosen by your doctor.

Treatment Options:

A vascular specialist at Medcare will recommend the best peripheral artery disease treatment for you. This treatment is likely to start with medications to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and provide pain relief. In some cases, angioplasty or surgery may be needed for peripheral artery disease that is causing intense claudification.

FAQs:الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • I have been advised to walk, but it hurts when I do. What should I do?

    A: It can be frustrating that it hurts when you walk, but walking is good for you. Slowly try to increase the distance you can walk. You will find that gradually you can walk further without pain. Exercise conditions your muscles so they can use oxygen more effectively.

  • I have heard that I should take special care of my feet because I have peripheral artery disease. What measures should I take?

    A: Peripheral artery disease increases the chances that sores or injuries on your feet or legs may not heal. As you have poor blood circulation in your legs, there are also increased chances of infections. You should take special care as follows:

    • Keep your feet clean and dry.
    • Wear shoes that fit well and clean, dry socks.
    • Visit your doctor if you have any sores, injuries, corns, calluses or bunions.
  • I believe that some cold medications could be bad for me. Why?

    A: Some over-the-counter cold medications contain pseudoephedrine. A side effect of this drug is that it narrows your blood vessels. This can worsen your peripheral artery disease, so you should avoid these medications and consult your doctor before taking any medications.