Peripheral artery disease limits blood flow to your extremities, leading to claudication, which may limit your mobility. In severe cases, you may also experience muscle cramping even when seated. If you are looking for an accurate PAD diagnosis, your Alexandria peripheral arterial disease specialists at Louisiana Cardiovascular and Thoracic Institute are here to help.
What is peripheral arterial disease (PAD)?
Peripheral arterial disease refers to a circulatory disorder that occurs due to narrowing your blood vessels, preventing the smooth flow of blood to the furthest parts of your body. Inadequate blood flow to your legs ad arms may lead to claudication-pain in the legs when walking. This vascular disease is an advanced form of atherosclerosis-an accumulation of calcium and fatty deposits on the walls of your arteries. Your risk of developing peripheral arterial disease increases with aging. Unhealthy lifestyle habits like excess intake of fatty foods and smoking can also increase your chances of getting this circulatory disorder.
What symptoms indicate that you have peripheral arterial disease?
Although most people with PAD rarely have any symptoms, there are cases where the affected people may experience claudication (pain in the legs when walking). When engaging in physical activities like running, claudication may also cause symptoms like cramping or muscle pain. Your pain and discomfort depend on the clogged artery’s location. These symptoms usually resolve after resting for a few minutes. In severe cases, leg pain may intensify, making it difficult to walk or enjoy your favorite activities. The peripheral arterial disease may cause symptoms like:
- Leg weakness or numbness
- Excruciating cramping in your calf muscles, thighs, and hips after physical activities like climbing stairs
- Sores on your legs and feet that do not heal on their own
- Weak pulse in your extremities
- Pain in your arms when writing or knitting
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Shiny skin on your ankles
- Slow nail or hair growth on your legs and feet
As the peripheral arterial disease progresses, you may start experiencing pain even when not doing anything. The pain may be so intense that it may disrupt your sleep.
How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?
Dr. Jones and his team at Louisiana Cardiovascular and Thoracic Institute use cutting-edge diagnostic equipment to detect PAD. They may also use arterial ultrasound, angiosperm or ankle-brachial index. Dr. Jones may also conduct a magnetic resonance (MR) or computerized tomography (CT) scan to get finer details about your health. These additional tests provide a clear visual of blood flow to your arteries.
What are the available treatments for peripheral artery disease?
Your treatment plan depends on the severity of your health condition. It may include atherectomy, lifestyle adjustments, stenting, medication, and angioplasty. Your doctor inserts a catheter into the affected arteries during the angioplasty and uses a surgical balloon to unblock the arteries. They may put a stent in place to keep your arteries open after the procedure. Atherectomy involves the removal of the fatty deposits using a surgical wire and a catheter.
If you experience any PAD symptoms, call Dr. Jones or book an appointment online to begin your treatment.