Leg Hair Loss: A Symptom of Peripheral Artery Disease
Are you experiencing unexplained hair loss on your legs? It could be a sign of peripheral artery disease. PAD is a condition that affects the blood vessels supplying the legs, feet, and other extremities. It is primarily caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque inside the arteries, leading to narrowed or blocked blood flow. While symptoms of PAD can vary, leg hair loss can be one of the subtle indicators that should not be overlooked.
Hair growth is dependent on an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients carried by the blood. When blood flow to the legs is restricted due to PAD, the hair follicles may receive insufficient nourishment, resulting in thinning or loss of hair. Leg hair loss can serve as a visual cue that there may be an underlying issue with the blood circulation in your legs.
Hair Loss on Legs Symptoms
Hair loss on the legs can occur for various reasons and may be accompanied by different symptoms depending on the underlying cause. Here are some common symptoms associated with leg hair loss caused by PAD:
- Patchy hair loss
- Thinning hair
- Hair loss on the shins
- Hair loss on the thighs
Causes of Hair Loss on Legs
Hair loss on your legs can be caused by a variety of factors, including peripheral artery disease. If you’re concerned about hair loss on your legs, you should make an appointment with your doctor to determine the exact cause. Besides PAD, here are some other conditions that may lead to leg hair loss on your lower legs:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Thyroid conditions
- Skin conditions
Find out if you are at risk for Peripheral Artery Disease.
How Does PAD Cause Hair Loss on Legs?
Hair loss in PAD is primarily due to the restricted blood supply to the hair follicles. The hair follicles require a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients delivered by the blood vessels to maintain normal hair growth. However, in individuals with PAD, the narrowed arteries restrict the blood flow to the legs, resulting in inadequate oxygen and nutrient delivery to the hair follicles.
Without an adequate blood supply, the hair follicles may enter a state of “miniaturization,” which means that the hair follicles become smaller in size and produce thinner, weaker hairs. Over time, this miniaturization process can lead to progressive hair loss on the legs.
Peripheral artery disease can also cause other changes in the skin of the legs, which can contribute to hair loss. Reduced blood flow can lead to dry skin, thinning of the skin, and decreased production of natural oils. These factors can further impact the health of the hair follicles and contribute to hair loss.
Treatment for Leg Hair Loss Caused by PAD
At American Endovascular, we specialize in diagnosing and treating peripheral artery disease. Our vascular experts may recommend diagnostic tests to assess the blood flow in your legs and develop an individualized treatment plan tailored to your needs if you are diagnosed with PAD. Along with lifestyle changes and medications, our affiliated vascular specialists may recommend the following minimally invasive-image guided procedures depending on the severity of your condition.
When PAD becomes more severe, it can lead to more complications other than hair loss on the legs. At American Endovascular, our focus is to prevent amputations from occurring due to more advanced stages of PAD, such as Critical Limb Ischemia.
Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to widen narrowed or blocked arteries. A thin catheter with a balloon at its tip is inserted into the affected artery through a small incision. The balloon is inflated to compress the plaque against the artery walls, improving blood flow.
Atherectomy involves the removal of plaque from the artery walls. This procedure is performed using a catheter that is inserted into the artery. The catheter contains a cutting device that shaves off or breaks down the plaque, which is then removed from the body.
In cases where angioplasty alone may not be sufficient, a stent may be placed to keep the artery open. A stent is a small, expandable mesh tube that is inserted into the artery after angioplasty. It acts as a scaffold, providing structural support to keep the artery open and prevent re-narrowing.
What to Expect from Your PAD Treatment
Our Vascular Specialists
At American Endovascular, our affiliated vascular specialists in NY & NJ have years of experience treating peripheral artery disease and improving symptoms for patients. If you have noticed that your leg hair is thinning or not growing, our specialists are here to help you.
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From the Experts
Learn more about vascular health, prevention, and care for Peripheral Artery Disease.