What is Peripheral Artery Disease?
Peripheral artery disease is a condition that occurs when the arteries narrow and blood flow to the limbs is blocked. If you have peripheral artery disease, then you likely will not get enough blood flow to your legs. This can cause leg pain. It can also cause you to have problems walking.
Peripheral artery disease is often caused by the buildup of plaque inside of your arteries. Not only can peripheral artery disease block blood flow to your limbs but it can also block blood flow to your heart.
Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease
Claudication, which is leg pain that occurs when walking, is one of the main symptoms that comes along with having peripheral artery disease. Other symptoms include hair loss on your legs, a change in color of your legs, weak pulse in the feet or legs and coldness in the lower part of your leg. Men who have peripheral artery disease may develop erectile dysfunction. Keep in mind that many of the people who have PAD do not have any symptoms.
Risk Factors for Peripheral Artery Disease
Anyone can develop peripheral artery disease. However, there are some people who are at a greater risk for developing it than others. People who are over the age of 65 are most at risk for developing peripheral artery disease. In fact, it is estimated that 13 to 20 percent of people who are over the age of 65 have PAD. People who are overweight or diabetic are also more likely to develop peripheral artery disease.
PAD can cause serious complications such as stroke and heart attack. The good news is that Metro Vascular Centers has a variety of treatment options that can reduce the risk of serious complications. Every patient is different, so a doctor has to come up with an individualized treatment plan.
One of the treatments that doctors recommend is angioplasty. This is a condition where the doctor makes an incision and uses a catheter to guide a balloon to the blocked artery. The balloon opens the artery so that it will flow freely.
A doctor can also use a stent. The stent will use a plastic or metal tube to open up the artery.
Preventing Peripheral Artery Disease
Living a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of developing peripheral artery disease. If you are a smoker, then you should avoid it. You should also make sure that you exercise and eat healthy.