Peripheral artery disease (PAD, or peripheral arterial disease) reduces blood flow to your legs and sometimes arms when the arteries in your legs stiffen and narrow due to cardiovascular disease. This causes leg pain and other symptoms of PAD.
Although this chronic condition does not have a cure, a healthy lifestyle can help minimize symptoms. Dignity Health offers PAD testing and personalized treatment for peripheral artery disease in the Bay Area. Find a Doctor now to receive expert care with humankindness.
Peripheral Artery Disease Symptoms
The most common sign of PAD is a bluish tint to the skin of your legs caused by reduced oxygen flow. Other symptoms of PAD include:
- Leg pain when walking
- Numbness or pain in your legs that worsens when you raise your feet
- Nighttime leg cramps
- Pain in your toes
- Slow-healing sores or wounds on your legs, some of which appear for no known reason
Causes of PAD
PAD is caused by cardiovascular disease, which is due to the buildup of cholesterol that narrows your arteries. Peripheral artery disease is very similar to coronary artery disease, except it most often affects your legs.
Men older than age 50 are most at risk for PAD. You may also be at higher risk of developing peripheral artery disease if you:
- Have diabetes
- Have high cholesterol or high blood pressure
- Have a history of heart disease or kidney disease
Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment at Dignity Health
Your doctor will offer a PAD test to diagnose the condition. Peripheral artery disease treatments focus on lifestyle changes to prevent the condition. These commonly include:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet rich in lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats
- Quitting smoking
- Treating existing heart disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, by taking prescribed medications as directed
- Getting aerobic exercise on a regular basis
- Promptly treating leg wounds or sores
In severe cases, PAD can almost fully block blood flow to your legs. Your doctor may suggest surgery, either angioplasty (where stents are placed inside arteries to keep them open) or arterectomy (removal of chronic hardened obstructions).
The best treatment for peripheral artery disease is prevention, and that begins with good overall heart health. By keeping your arteries in good shape, you can stay active for years to come. Take our quick online heart risk assessment to learn more about your heart health.
Dignity Health offers complete care for peripheral artery disease, including the PAD test, in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.