Peripheral artery disease most often comes from plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) in the arteries supplying blood to the legs or arms. These fatty deposits cause narrowing of the affected vessels and prevent an adequate blood supply from reaching the extremities.
Much less frequently, the arterial narrowing associated with PAD may be due to inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) or an injury to the involved limb.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 6.5 million people in the United States have PAD. Many more likely have the condition without realizing it because the early symptoms of PAD are often quite subtle.
PAD most often affects the legs but can also occur in the arms. Depending on which arteries are affected, symptoms may include:
The long-term health consequences of PAD include increased risk of stroke and heart attack as well as ongoing infection and tissue death (gangrene) caused by inadequate blood supply to the affected limb. This may eventually lead to amputation.
The goal of treatment for PAD includes resolving the symptoms and addressing the underlying cause of the disease.
Effective treatment strategies may include various medications to help control pain, lower your cholesterol, and reduce your risk of blood clots.
You may also benefit from changes in diet, increased physical activity, and weight loss to help manage atherosclerosis.
Your Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates specialist may also recommend a minimally invasive procedure such as balloon angioplasty and stenting to widen arteries narrowed by plaque.
This can help salvage a limb at risk of amputation as it relieves the symptoms you’re experiencing and prevents worsening tissue damage and other health complications related to PAD.
Because atherosclerosis that causes PAD is the same condition that leads to coronary artery disease, you may also benefit from further evaluation of your overall vascular health.
Don’t ignore the health risks associated with PAD. Schedule an evaluation at Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates today. Call the office, or request an appointment online.