There are a number of common conditions relating to the cardiovascular system, and one of these is known as Peripheral Arterial Disease, or PAD. This is a condition that stems from the narrowing of the arteries, which then results in the blood flow to parts of the body being constricted. PAD does not cause problems for all sufferers – generally, around 25 percent of those with the condition tend to experience issues and symptoms.
Medical research has shown that PAD can affect both the arteries and the veins, and the causes can vary. The most common cause of the condition is clogged arteries but there can be other factors that can result in this condition too. This includes arterial blood clots, limb injuries, or problems with muscles and ligaments. There are various means of testing for the presence of PAD, one of which is the use of a system known as QuantaFlo.
Some of the symptoms to look out for
There are a number of symptoms that could suggest you may be suffering from PAD. However, it is important to remember that you will not necessarily experience all or even any of these symptoms. Around half of those that have the condition do not even realize that they have it due to lack of symptoms. Some of the symptoms that can present in sufferers of PAD include:
- Numbness and/or weakness of the legs
- Aches and cramps in the muscles of the legs when walking
- Loss of hair on feet and legs
- Cold sensation in the lower leg or foot
- Toenails that become brittle and/or grow at a very slow pace
- Slow healing ulcers on feet and legs
- Shiny or pale areas on the skin of the legs
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Difficulty in locating a pulse in the leg or foot
As you can see, some of these symptoms are non-specific, which means that they could relate to other conditions. This is why, even if you do experience one or two of these symptoms, you still may not relate it to PAD. However, if you do experience some of the symptoms, it is important to see your doctor and seek medical advice and assistance so that a firm diagnosis can be made.
Getting a diagnosis for this condition
As mentioned previously, even if you do have PAD there is no guarantee that you will experience these symptoms. However, if you have suspicions that you may have the condition it is important to seek medical assistance and get it checked out. The quickest and easiest test method that medics tend to use is the Quantaflo system. In a recent interview, Dr. Andrew Gomes from National Interventional Radiology Partners was asked what he liked about the system. He stated: “Compared to a traditional ABI (Ankle-Brachial Index test, the traditional test for PAD), QuantaFlo is much more convenient. It’s faster, easier, and it’s portable. Anyone can be trained to perform the test. Because of this, we are able to identify disease in more people, more quickly and efficiently.”
There are other methods that they may try in order to make a PAD diagnosis. This includes blood tests, MRAs, and even exercise tests.
If the diagnosis shows that you do suffer from PAD, your doctor will be able to organize a suitable treatment plan. This could range between exercise and lifestyle changes to medication or even surgery.
Photo by Douglas Haase