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Understanding the Risks of PAD

Tuesday, 03 May 2022 00:00

PAD or Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when there is a narrowing or blockage of blood vessels. This disease is caused by a buildup of fat in the arteries, and is also known as atherosclerosis. Though this can happen in any blood vessel, it is more common in the lower extremities. Risks for PAD include aging, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Some symptoms that may be present include pain in the feet or legs with activity that stops with rest, decreased or absent foot pulse, sores or ulcers that do not heal, and cold or numb toes. Beyond damage to one’s feet if left untreated, PAD can lead to a heart attack or stroke. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to see a podiatrist to measure blood pressure in the ankles via an ankle brachial index (ABI) and compare that to blood pressure in the arms, do possible imaging studies, confirm the diagnosis, and obtain a 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 Todd A. Bell, DPM from Connecticut. 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

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 our office located in Bloomfield, CT . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Peripheral Artery Disease

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