Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Symptoms and Causes
What are the symptoms of peripheral artery disease?
Many people who have PAD may have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. However, one of the most common issues experienced is leg pain when walking, called claudication.
Claudication can feel like muscle pain or cramping in your legs that is triggered by activity like walking. These sensations will disappear after resting for a few minutes. Where the pain is felt depends on the location of the clogged or narrow artery, however calf pain is one of the most common locations.
If you are not sure if you are experiencing PAD or something else, your best course of action is to make an appointment with Dr. Giraldo, the best vein doctor in Frisco, Southlake, McKinney or anywhere else.
Severity of the leg pain can range from mild discomfort to sever pain. Debilitating claudication can make it hard for people to walk or do any other type of physical activity. Other symptoms of peripheral artery disease include:
Painful cramping in the hips, thighs or calf after climbing stairs or walking
Leg numbness or weakness
Coldness in lower leg or foot that feels more cold than the other leg
Sores on feet, legs or toes that will not heal
Leg color change
Lack of pulse or a weak pulse in legs or feet
Hair loss or delayed hair growth on your legs and feet
Skin that is shiny on your legs
As peripheral artery disease progresses you may experience pain when you are lying down resting or sleeping. It may wake you up, but walking around your room or dangling your legs off the side of your bed may help.
What causes peripheral artery disease?
PAD is often caused by something called atherosclerosis, which is fatty plaque that builds up within arteries, causing reduced blood flow.
What increases my risk factor for developing peripheral artery disease?
There are several factors that may give you an increased risk of developing PAD. While having these does not mean you will get it, there is an increased risk, especially when you have multiple risk factors combined. These include:
Diabetes – this is the biggest risk factor due to lack of blood flow to the feet
Smoking – again, this is one of the biggest risks due to lack of blood flow
Obesity – this is defined as a body mass index over 30
High cholesterol and blood pressure
Being over 50 years of age
High levels of a protein that builds and maintains tissue, called homocysteine
A family history of stoke, heart disease or peripheral artery disease
How to Prevent or Treat Peripheral Artery Disease
To prevent this disease, the best course of action is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes:
Exercising at least 30-45 minutes several times weekly
Eating a healthy diet full of vegetables and low in saturated fat
Maintaining a healthy weight
Keeping good control of your blood sugar if diabetic
If necessary, an endovascular procedure can be done using a small, flexible tube inside the veins. Additionally, if there is a severe case of peripheral artery disease, surgery may be required to restore leg function.
If you are experiencing discomfort or pain while walking, come into our vein center in Frisco, Texas to get diagnosed and begin a course of treatment.