Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is the narrowing of peripheral arteries that lead to the legs, arms, stomach, and head. The narrowing of these arteries occurs due to a buildup of plaque within the circulatory system. This buildup leads to a reduction in blood flow and can cause a range of painful and deadly symptoms if left untreated. This disease is more commonly found in the outer extremities of the body, such as your legs. If left untreated, Peripheral Arterial Disease can lead to ischemic rest pain, ulcers, gangrene, and, ultimately, amputations. Patients that are affected by this ailment are also at increased risk for coronary artery disease and carotid artery stenosis, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Unfortunately, in its early stages, Peripheral Arterial Disease often does not produce any signs or symptoms. This condition can go unnoticed until it is serious, or possibly even deadly. That’s why regular vascular screenings are a good idea for those who are at risk. If you’re experiencing any signs or symptoms of PAD, contacting a Peripheral Arterial Disease Specialist In New Orleans is the first step to prevent or treat the condition. Some of the signs and symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease include:
- Painful cramping in one or both of your hips, thighs or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs (claudication)
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side
- Sores on your toes, ulcers that won't heal
- A change in the color of your legs
- Hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs
- Slower growth of your toenails
- Shiny skin on your legs
- No pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
- Erectile dysfunction in men
Peripheral Arterial Disease
An accurate diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease is dependent upon the location
of the disease. A cardiologist will use one of the following methods to detect and monitor your artery health:
- Auscultation: Physician uses a stethoscope to listen for the presence of a bruit, or “whooshing” sound in the arteries of the legs.
- Ankle-brachial index (ABI): An ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a quick, non-invasive test used to determine if blood flow may be inhibited in one or both legs.
- Doppler Ultrasound: A form of ultrasound measuring the direction and rate of blood flow through the vessels.
- CT angiography: An advanced X-ray procedure that uses a computer to generate three-dimensional images.
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MR angiography): A Magnetic resonance angiography is used to generate images of arteries in order to evaluate them for stenosis, occlusions, aneurysms or other abnormalities.
- Angiogram: A diagnostic test that uses x-rays to take pictures of your blood vessels.
Contact A Peripheral Arterial Disease Specialist
The sooner PAD is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated. Talk to your doctor if you experience lower leg pain, ulcers, discoloration, or swelling. Those most at risk for PAD are those over 50, with a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, or smoking. Learn more about peripheral artery disease or schedule an appointment with one of our Peripheral Arterial Disease specialists in New Orleans.