At Coastal Vascular Center, we devote our practice to helping those with Peripheral Arterial Disease. We have encountered, diagnosed, and treated hundreds of patients with a variety of vascular disorders. One common condition that often goes undiagnosed or is misunderstood is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). Understanding the linked health consequences of PAD is crucial to ensure appropriate preventative measures and prompt and effective treatment when necessary.
This article will share the wealth of experience gathered by Dr. Ayar and the highly skilled professional team at Coastal Vascular Center. We want to help shed light on Peripheral Arterial Disease and its connected health issues.
What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?
Peripheral Arterial Disease, often called PAD. This is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries restrict blood flow to the limbs, most commonly the legs. The narrowing is typically caused by atherosclerosis – a build-up of fatty deposits known as plaques on the arterial walls. This reduced blood flow can result in symptoms including leg pain, particularly during physical activities, and non-healing wounds on the feet or legs.
It’s important to understand that PAD is not just about discomfort or a temporary hindrance to active daily life. If left untreated, PAD can have serious health consequences beyond the circulatory problems in the legs.
Linked Health Consequences of Peripheral Arterial Disease
PAD is an indicator that fatty deposits are building up in the major arteries that carry blood to vital organs. This condition is linked to several significant health risks:
1. Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Individuals with PAD typically have an increased risk of developing other cardiovascular ailments. This includes issues such as coronary artery disease (heart disease). Also, cerebrovascular disease (affecting the arteries supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain) can occur. Both these conditions can potentially lead to life-threatening events like heart attack or stroke.
2. Critical Limb Ischemia: In severe cases of PAD, if the blood flow to the legs is wholly or significantly blocked, ‘Critical Limb Ischemia‘ can occur. This chronic condition causes severe pain in the feet or toes, even when resting. Complications from this condition can result in non-healing ulcers, gangrene, and, in extreme cases, amputation.
3. Renal (Kidney) Artery Disease: Atherosclerosis, the process that causes PAD, can also affect the arteries supplying your kidneys. Renal artery disease can lead to chronic kidney disease, a long-term condition where the kidneys don’t work as well as they should.
Diagnosing and Treating PAD
Simple tests performed during a physical examination, such as taking the pulse in the legs, can give the first indication of PAD. However, more specific tests are often needed to diagnose the severity of the disease. An ankle-brachial index (ABI), a non-invasive comparison of blood pressure in your ankle and arm, is often used. More detailed imaging scans such as Doppler ultrasound, CT angiogram, or MR angiography might be used to locate the blockages.
At Coastal Vascular Center, we emphasize early diagnosis and treatment of PAD. This helps manage symptoms and stop the progression of atherosclerosis. Dr. Ayar and our team are skilled in a range of treatments for PAD. From lifestyle changes and medications to angioplasty, atherectomy, and bypass surgery.
Prevention is Key
Understanding PAD and addressing the condition swiftly is vital not only to alleviate the immediate symptoms but also to prevent more severe cardiovascular issues down the road. Living a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking can significantly help reduce the risk for PAD.
If you or someone you know may be at risk for PAD, talk to your doctor or visit us at Coastal Vascular Center. Dr. Ayar and our team are equipped with the knowledge and tools to properly diagnose and treat PAD and help manage other associated health risks. Understanding the linked health consequences of PAD is critical for maintaining overall good health.
Remember, timely care can make all the difference in a world where PAD is a widespread health concern. If you have any problems related to Peripheral Arterial Disease or any other vascular health issue, visit us at Coastal Vascular Center. We’ll be here to help and guide you every step of the way.