Peripheral artery disease, also called peripheral arterial disease or PAD is a common condition in which the arteries are unable to carry the required blood to the outer parts of the human body, especially the arms and legs. This situation arises due to the narrowing of arteries, reducing the blood flow. This results in your leg pain while you walk, run, or when you perform any physical activities.
We will learn more about this condition in our blog and see what are the symptoms, causes, and treatments to it. Read the completed to get full knowledge of PAD and have a clear idea of what to do next if it is diagnosed in your body.
What causes Peripheral Artery Disease?
The main cause of peripheral artery disease is the blockage in the arteries that are responsible for carrying blood to your legs and arms. This obstruction generally leads to a condition known as atherosclerosis. This arises when there is a formation of fat and cholesterol within the bloodstream, causing plaque in the arteries.
With time, the building up of plaque results in increased hardness and narrowing of the arteries. This blockage and gradual accumulation of fats makes it harder for the arteries to supply oxygen through the bloodstream.
Other factors that might lead to the development of PAD include:
- Age of 50 years and above
- Injuries to arms and legs
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Legs or arms exposed to harmful radiation
Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease
There are no severe symptoms that one may encounter with peripheral artery disease. The symptoms are mild or even sometimes there are none. However, we will discuss some of the common symptoms that you might notice:
Claudication is the most common symptom linked with PAD. It refers to cramping or muscle pain in the legs or arms when you do any physical exercise or just normal body movement. The pain may range from mild to severe, making it difficult to walk.
It may include:
- Legs and arms may tremble or shiver
- Erectile dysfunction
- Coldness in legs or arms
- Hairs may start to fall from the legs
- Weak pulse in the leg region
- Skinny legs
These symptoms may result in an uneven sleep cycle due to the pain or discomfort. Hanging your legs from the bed may give relief for some time.
Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral disease demands much attention and care from the patient. It is not very easy to treat such kind of illness. One needs to be really careful of what they eat and what are their lifestyle habits. All these factors can affect the treatment of PAD. It even requires an overall effort from the patient’s side.
To treat PAD, there is a requirement of inputs in almost every field. Not just taking medication on time, but you will have to change your lifestyle so that this disease does not affect much. Let us see the major treatment process that you can implement to better your health.
1. Changes in lifestyle
Whatever lifestyle you had before contracting PAD, does not matter now. It was probably the main reason that you got this disease. You need a very disciplined lifestyle. You need regular exercise and a proper and healthy diet. The sleep cycle is also very vital, so make sure you take proper rest and sleep. While eating, make sure you avoid fat and cholesterol. Your favorite things might not be possible to consume now. You must also take care of your weight, if it is very high then try to lose some.
Now, medications will be a part of your life. For PAD management, there will be plenty of medications and doses that you will have to consume. Be very disciplined with the timings and dosages of medications. You cannot avoid this part; not even for a single day. Just take your pills every day.
3. Regular checkup
Monitor your heart regularly. Carry a smartwatch with you all the time, if necessary. Consult your healthcare professionals and consultants from time to time. You need to take proper guidance to stay healthy and fit. Regular checkups at the hospital are a must to keep a record of your PAD.
4. Surgical options
In more complicated cases, surgical procedures might be necessary. Angioplasty, where a small balloon is inserted and inflated to open up the artery, or bypass surgery, which involves using a vessel from another part of the body to reroute blood around the blocked artery, are common surgical options. However, these options are prescribed in cases when there is no other option available.
5. Proper collaboration
Taking care of PAD is not just the patient’s duty but also the responsibility of their family members, friends, and lastly the active involvement of the health professionals. That is why proper collaboration is required from everyone. Such a disease can give a hit to the mental well-being of patients and ultimately lead to further complications. So, a friend or loved one must make them feel at ease and keep them happy and free of any burden.
As we wrap up this blog, PAD is something unavoidable if you get it in the first place. All one can do is keep a check and make some lifestyle and diet changes to minimize its overall impact. Moreover, research and studies are going on to prevent PAD and further treat such diseases with maximum efficiency. There is still a long way to go; all we can say is to take care of your precious heart with utmost care. Stay safe. Stay healthy.
Ans. One cannot prevent such a disease completely. However, one can simply prevent taking this disease’s toll on the body. Through routine check-ups, proper diet, exercise, and other precautionary measures, you can almost nullify PAD’s effect on your health and body.
Ans. Yes, it can affect your daily activities if left untreated or if the disease progresses.
- Yuksel A, Velioglu Y, Cayir MC, Kumtepe G, Gurbuz O. Current Status of Arterial Revascularization for the Treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia in Infrainguinal Atherosclerotic Disease. Int J Angiol. 2018 Sep;27(3):132-137. [PMC free article]
- Aysert Yıldız P, Özdil T, Dizbay M, Güzel Tunçcan Ö, Hızel K. Peripheral arterial disease increases the risk of multidrug-resistant bacteria and amputation in diabetic foot infections. Turk J Med Sci. 2018 Aug 16;48(4):845-850. [PubMed]