Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is the narrowing of blood vessels in your legs and sometimes arms, which reduces blood supply and causes pain. PAD is a complication of cardiovascular disease and does not have a cure. Prevention and treatment strategies focus on learning and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.
If you suspect symptoms of PAD, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health Central California for expert diagnosis and treatment. Our providers deliver reliable, personal care for peripheral artery disease in Central California.
Common Symptoms of PAD
A bluish tint in your skin color is one of the more common peripheral artery disease symptoms. Other symptoms of PAD include:
- Numbness or pain in your legs that gets worse when you raise your feet
- Leg pain or fatigue when walking
- Pain in your toes
- Sores on your legs that occur for no known reason
- Slow-healing sores or wounds on your legs
- Nighttime leg cramps
What Causes Peripheral Artery Disease?
Cardiovascular disease, including the buildup of cholesterol plaque that narrows your blood vessels, is the cause of PAD. Peripheral artery disease is similar to coronary artery disease, with the difference being that PAD affects the arteries in your legs (and sometimes arms) instead of your coronary artery.
The following factors increase your risk of developing PAD:
Men over the age of 50 are more likely to develop peripheral artery disease than women.
PAD Treatment Options at Dignity Health Central California
Because there is no cure for PAD, the best treatment option is prevention. Prevention starts with good overall cardiovascular health. Your doctor may recommend making the following lifestyle changes that improve the health of your arteries:
- Quitting smoking
- Getting physical exercise on a regular basis
- Following directions for prescription medicines that treat existing heart disease, such as hypertension or high cholesterol
- Promptly treating leg wounds or sores
- Eating a heart-healthy diet consisting of lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats
Severe cases of PAD, where blood flow to your legs is almost fully blocked, can be treated with angioplasty — a surgical procedure to place stents inside your arteries to keep them open. Your doctor may also recommend an alternative surgery to remove hardened obstructions from your arteries, called arterectomy.
Take our online heart risk assessment to learn more about your heart health. Share your results with one of our board-certified cardiologists, who can deliver the high-quality cardiovascular care you deserve.
Dignity Health Central California doctors specialize in managing hard-to-treat conditions, like peripheral artery disease, in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.