Do you feel a tingling sensation in your body muscles, or pain in your calf while walking? Aren’t you suffering from Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) then? Why don’t you check? If you want to make sure whether you are a patient of Peripheral Artery Disease, you are cordially requested to read this article. Before knowing about the disease, isn’t it essential to be familiar with an artery?
What Is Peripheral Artery Disease
An artery is known as a blood vessel. The work of it is to take blood away from the heart to all branches of the body. There are thousands of arteries in our body, and they are the branches of the circulatory system. Through the arteries, the circulatory system delivers oxygen and nutrients to all cells. Not only that, but it also removes carbon dioxide and waste products through these arteries. So, you can easily realize the importance of the arteries of our body.
Now, what do you think? Shouldn’t we take care of these arteries properly? Yes, we should. Therefore, we should be aware of Peripheral Artery Disease, and keep the arteries clean so that they can work properly for our body.
Now, let’s have an idea about Peripheral artery disease:
Are you familiar with the word plaque? Plaque, a white substance, is made up of fat, calcium, cholesterol, fibrous tissue, and other elements in the blood. Peripheral artery disease is caused when plaque stores in the arteries. Peripheral artery disease hinders the flow of blood and makes our body weak.
The plaque building up condition is known as atherosclerosis. Over time, plaque becomes hard, and as a result, the arteries become narrow. This situation hinders the flow of oxygen-rich blood, and for this, our body suffers a lot.
Peripheral artery disease, also known as the peripheral arterial disease, often affects the arteries in the leg. Other arteries that take blood from heart to legs, arms, stomach, and kidneys may also be affected by this disease. The hindrance of the flow of blood to our legs causes pain and tingling sensation in our legs.
Peripheral artery disease is a kind of circulatory problem, and because of it, our arteries become narrow, which reduce blood flow to our limbs. Another thing is that due to this, blood cannot flow appropriately according to the demand; as a result, we find leg pain while walking. Since fat deposits in our arteries because of the disease, it also reduces blood flow to our heart and brain. Don’t worry! By giving up tobacco, taking regular exercises, and eating a healthy diet, you can successfully get rid of peripheral artery disease.
You can feel pain when you walk or climb stairs, but don’t neglect, instead, you should consult a doctor and lead your life according to his suggestion. You will be amazed if you know that smoking is the leading risk factor for peripheral artery disease. Many people suffer from this disease because of aging.
Other names of peripheral artery disease
Peripheral artery disease is also known as atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease, claudication, hardening of the arteries, leg cramps from poor circulation, peripheral vascular disease, poor circulation, and vascular disease. You can search for them on the internet to gain more knowledge about the disease.
What kind of complications will you find if you are a patient of peripheral artery disease?
The answer to the above question may be frightening to you, but it will be harmful if you do not know the answer to the question. Due to peripheral artery disease, you may face heart attack, ischemic heart disease, stroke, and transient ischemic attack, which is also known as a mini-stroke. Let’s know in details:
Critical limb ischemia
Critical limb ischemia begins from open sores. The sores usually take time to heal; in some cases, they don’t heal at all. Critical limb ischemia takes its final position when the wounds become the cause of tissue death, also known as gangrene. Sometimes, the amputation of the affected limb is required to get rid of it.
Stroke and heart attack
Peripheral artery disease causes stroke and heart attack. Atherosclerosis does not remain still to your legs only; rather they can affect your heart and brain also. The deposition of fat reduces blood supply to your heart and brain. It causes stroke and heart attack.
When to see a doctor
You need to consult a doctor at the right time or as soon as you find some symptoms in you. Please don’t neglect a simple leg pain, numbness or other symptoms, and don’t ignore them thinking that they are merely for growing your age. Sometimes, you may not find any signs, even you need to check when you are:
- If you are a jobholder, we will request you to consult a doctor after your retirement from the job in this regard. It is better if you are between 60 to 70 years old.
- If you are a diabetes patient or a smoker, please go to a doctor after 50 years old.
- If you have obesity or high blood pressure, you may be a victim of the disease below 50 years old.
Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease
Though finding symptoms varies from person to person, we want to let you know about what the symptoms of peripheral artery disease are. Aren’t you interested? If so, let’s dive:
- Feeling the pain, aching, numbness, or heaviness in the muscles of your leg during walking or climbing stairs
- Feeling pain in hips, calves, thighs, and feet
- Finding sores on the toes, feet, or legs and recovering poorly, slowly, or not at all
- Skin having a pale or bluish color
- Feeling pain in muscles and recovering after taking some rests
- The variation of temperature between two legs
- Poor growth of your nails
- Suddenly decreased hair growth on your legs
- Facing erectile dysfunction
- And more.
Because of peripheral artery disease, you may feel intense pain. Sometimes the pain is so severe that it disrupts your sleep. In that case, just hang your legs over the edge of your bed, or walk inside your room for a while to get quick relief from pain.
Causes Of Peripheral Artery Disease
There are many causes of peripheral artery disease, but according to many experts, atherosclerosis is the leading cause of the disease. Plaque, a white substance, stores in the arteries, and is responsible for the damage of the inner layers of the arteries, and this disease is known as atherosclerosis. The other reasons for peripheral artery disease are –
- Smoking: In tobacco, there is a substance called nicotine. While smoking, nicotine enters into our body, and through our respiratory system, it mixes with our blood. When blood flows through the arteries, nicotine causes damage to them and becomes responsible for peripheral artery disease.
- Fats and cholesterol: Millions of people all over the world bear fats and cholesterol in their blood. Lifestyle and food habits are responsible for fats and cholesterol. They store in our arteries and cause peripheral artery disease.
- High blood pressure: A man having high blood pressure can be a victim of the disease. High blood pressure creates pressure on arteries, thereby damages them, and creates peripheral artery disease.
- Diabetes: High amounts of sugar causes diabetes. Bloods full of high amounts of sugar may cause peripheral artery disease.
When damage occurs, your body starts a healing process. The healing may cause plaque to build up to where the arteries are damaged.
Eventually, a section of plaque can rupture (break open), causing a blood clot to form at the site. The buildup of plaque or blood clots can severely narrow or block the arteries and limit the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your body.
Diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease
To diagnose whether you are a patient of PAD, your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and test results are needed. Let’s know more about it:
Medical and Family Histories
Before diagnosing PAD, your doctor may ask you whether you smoke or suffering from diabetes. He may ask you about the symptoms stated above, and if you feel them while walking, taking exercise, standing, sitting, or climbing. You may be asked about your diet, medicines you take, or any other diseases you face. The doctor may ask about your family members whether they are suffering from heart or blood vessel diseases.
You have to face physical exams, and these exams are needed to confirm about PAD. Your doctor may examine the blood flow rate of your legs or feet to see if your pulses are weak or absent. With the help of a stethoscope, your doctor may check whooshing sound from the arteries of your leg. If he finds any abnormality, he will take further decision. The abnormal whooshing sound is known as a bruit. A bruit is a warning of a narrowed or blocked artery. Your doctor may check the blood pressure of your limbs. He may also check your hair, nails, skins, and wounds of your body to find out the symptoms of peripheral artery disease.
There are some diagnostic tests that you need to face. They may include:
- Ankle-Brachial Index: This test is known as ABI. ABI is for comparing blood pressure from your ankle to your arm and shows the flowing of blood in your limbs. Don’t worry. It will take only 15 minutes to finish the test.
- Doppler Ultrasound: This test is for checking blood flow in the major arteries and veins in the limbs. Through this test, a computer converts sound waves into a picture, and makes sure, if you have any blocked blood vessel.
- Treadmill Test: During this test, you have to run on a treadmill, and the doctor will try to find out problems from the rate of your heart bit.
- Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA): It uses magnetic and radio wave energy and takes pictures of the blood vessels. It shows the location and the level of a blocked blood vessel. Tell your doctor if you have surgical clips, fabricated joint, pacemaker, stent, mechanical heart valve, or other metallic devices in your body. If so, your doctor may refer you to other tests.
- Arteriogram: It offers a road map of the arteries, and with the help of it, the doctor becomes aware of the location of a blocked artery.
- Blood Tests: A blood test is required to check for PAD. It will help the doctor to know whether you have diabetes and high blood cholesterol.
Prevention Of Peripheral Artery Disease
There goes a proverb – “Prevention is better than cure.” This is high time you took the decision. If you prevent from the beginning, you can be in the safe zone. Here, there are some tips for you:
- Try to be physically and mentally active.
- If you are a smoker, give up now. This will keep your body nicotine free.
- Maintain a balanced diet. It will keep you disease-free.
- Control your overweight or obese. Take regular exercise and keep your body fit. If you do so, no disease can harm you.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
Treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease
There are three types of treatment for Peripheral artery disease. Firstly – heart-healthy lifestyle, secondly – medication, and thirdly – surgery.
Maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle can be the first treatment procedure. It includes – physical exercises and activities, give up smoking, and heart-healthy eating.
- Cholesterol-lowering medications, such as Statin.
- High blood pressure medications.
- Medication to control blood sugar
- Medications to prevent blood clots such as Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Symptom relief medications, such as Cilostazol and Pentoxifylline.
If your level is severe, you may need surgery. There are several surgeries for PAD. Your doctor will suggest you according to your level.
Bypass Grafting: Your doctor may suggest you for a bypass grafting surgery if any one of your arteries is blocked. Through this, the doctor will use an artificial tube and throw away your damaged one. After this surgery, blood will begin to flow like before.
Angioplasty and Stent Placement: Angioplasty and stent placement is a helpful surgery. It helps to restore your blood flow through a blocked artery. To do this, a balloon is used into a blocked artery, and after that, it is inflated. This allows your blood to flow as usual.
Atherectomy: Through this process, a catheter is used to insert a small cutting device to your blocked artery. The device will cut the plaque stored in your artery, and wash away through the bloodstream. Sometimes, your doctor may use a laser instead of the cutting device.
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The most essential thing in our life is to lead a healthy life. Think for a while. Aren’t we responsible for our problems? Most of us don’t take any care of our health. We are always hankering after wealth, and spending them behind our diseases. So, what is the use of wealth if we don’t have a sound body? Therefore, try to prevent before being a victim. Remember, you are one of the most important members of your family. They never want to lose you.