Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) involves the narrowing of blood vessels that prevent proper blood flow to the limbs. It is often caused by atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits collect on artery walls and reduce blood flow. PAD most commonly occurs in the legs, but can also affect arteries in the arms, stomach, and head. Many people mistake its symptoms for something else, such as arthritis or diabetic neuropathy, so PAD often goes undiagnosed. This can be particularly troublesome, as peripheral arterial disease increases an individual’s risk for coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Take A Listen: Dr. Niren Angle, vascular surgeon, discusses peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and the treatment options that are available at Mercy Medical Center.
Click here to read the transcript of Dr. Angle's interview on our Hello Healthy podcast
What Are the Symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?
- Numbness or pain in the legs that gets worse when raising the feet
- Leg pain or fatigue when walking
- Pain in the toes
- Sores on legs that occur for no known reason
- Slow-healing sores or wounds on legs
- Nighttime leg cramps
It’s important to consult with your physician if you experience these, or any other symptoms.
Need a doctor? We can help. Please call (209) 564-4500 or click here to use our Find A Doctor tool to connect with a vascular surgeon.
Who’s at Risk for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?
Age plays a role in risk. In other words, as a person ages, he or she is at a higher risk for developing PAD. Additionally, the following factors increase one’s risk of developing PAD:
- High cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Diabetes (including type 2 diabetes)
- History of heart disease
- Kidney disease
How Is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Diagnosed?
Diagnosis for PAD begins with a physical exam during which your physician will also ask questions about any symptoms you may be experiencing. An ankle-brachial index (ABI) is often utilized to assist in diagnosis. This painless exam involves using a blood pressure cuff to measure blood pressure levels in the arms and legs, and then comparing those measurements to determine if blood flow is weaker in one or more areas of the body. If more testing is required, your physician may also recommend doppler and ultrasound imaging, a CT scan, magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), or angiography.
Find A Doctor
To connect with a vascular surgeon, please call (209) 564-4500 or use our Find A Doctor tool.