Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is a condition that affects the blood vessels in the extremities. It is caused by a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, which narrows the blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the lower limbs and feet. Common symptoms of peripheral artery disease include hair loss on the feet and legs, intermittent pain in the muscles when walking, and cold sensations in the feet or lower legs. Numbness, slow toenail growth, and non healing sores or ulcers on the legs and feet can also occur. In some cases, finding a pulse in the leg or foot becomes difficult. The primary cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, or clogging of the arteries. Risk factors that play a role can include diabetes, smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. Engaging in physical activity may help to improve symptoms and reduce the risk of developing PAD. Peripheral artery disease is a significant risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, and an early diagnosis is crucial in preventing severe consequences. If you suspect you may have PAD that has begun to affect your lower legs and feet, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist for an exam and treatment plan.
Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with Jennifer M. Kern, DPM from South Carolina. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.
Symptoms of PAD include:
- Claudication (leg pain from walking)
- Numbness in legs
- Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
- Paleness of the skin
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heal
- Coldness in one leg
It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.
While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.
Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in West Columbia, SC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.