Do You Have Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Do You Have Peripheral Arterial Disease?

According to the American Heart Association, more than 8 million Americans have peripheral arterial disease (PAD). However, unless it begins to interfere with your daily routine, the symptoms and health risks associated with PAD often receive little attention.

In this blog post, our vascular surgeon, Dr. Nirav Patel, of Premier Vascular in Yonkers and Jackson Heights, New York, discusses PAD. He shares the warning signs of PAD, how it relates to your health, and the treatments available for this increasingly common, but very treatable, disease.

What is PAD?

Peripheral arterial disease involves the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your legs, arms, kidneys, and other vital organs.

Most often linked to atherosclerosis caused by a buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) that cling to arterial walls, PAD results in narrowing of these major arteries. As blood flow decreases, the muscles and other tissue structures that rely on oxygen and nutrients provided by arterial blood suffer.

Symptoms are often felt first in the legs. However, depending on which arteries are affected, PAD can also significantly impair the healthy function of your kidneys and other vital organs. 

PAD can, for instance, cause chronic limb ischemia that results in tissue death (gangrene) and amputation of the affected arm or leg. It also increases your risk of developing blood clots due to the inflammatory vascular changes associated with atherosclerosis.

Additionally, PAD is often a sign that you are at risk of, or perhaps already experiencing, life-threatening plaque buildup in the arteries supplying blood to your heart and/or brain (carotid arteries).

What are the symptoms of PAD?

One of the more common symptoms of PAD is cramping pain (claudication) in the hips, thighs, or calves with walking, climbing stairs, or any physical activity that requires increased blood flow to your leg muscles.

Initially this pain is relieved by stopping the activity but tends to increase in severity as the disease progresses and may eventually occur even at rest.

Other leg symptoms associated with PAD include:

PAD affecting the arteries carrying blood to your upper extremities can cause cramping pain in your arms, wrists, or hands with activities such as writing, use of scissors, or painting.

How do you treat PAD?

Dr. Patel’s goals for treating PAD include relieving your symptoms and addressing the underlying condition.

Depending on the results of your evaluation, he may recommend:

For significant blockages, Dr. Patel may also advise angioplasty or atherectomy to clear the plaque and restore normal blood flow through the artery. These endovascular procedures are minimally invasive and offer immediate relief from symptoms related to PAD.

For more information about PAD treatment or any of the outstanding services we offer, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Patel at Premier Vascular today.

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