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What Is PAD?

Monday, 17 May 2021 00:00

Peripheral artery disease or “PAD”, is a medical condition in which there is inadequate blood flow to the lower limbs due to a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plaque is a fatty substance that clings to the walls of the arteries, making them narrow and harden. PAD is fairly common, affecting 20% of people over the age of 65, and can lead to serious complications if left undetected. However, many people who have PAD have no symptoms. Those that do have symptoms may notice an increase in leg pain, fatigue, and cramps while walking or exercising, numbness, achiness, or heaviness in the legs, skin discoloration, poor nail and hair growth, and the development of poorly healing wounds on the legs and feet. If you are over the age of 65, have diabetes, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a history of heart disease, stroke, or metabolic syndrome, then you are at an increased risk for PAD. A podiatrist can help diagnose this condition and offer treatment options that will reduce foot and ankle pain and restore mobility. 

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 one of our podiatrists from Florida Foot & Ankle Group, P.A.. Our doctors 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

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.

Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

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 one of our offices located in Apopka, Debary, Lake Mary, and Orlando, FL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Peripheral Artery Disease
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