How is PAD Diagnosed?
Untreated peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD, can lead to more severe and painful symptoms, limb amputation, and is associated with having an increased risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. However, peripheral artery disease is often underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. It’s important to bring up any vascular concerns you have to your doctor and ask to see a vascular specialist.
When you see an affiliated vascular specialist at American Endovascular, your peripheral artery disease diagnosis begins with reviewing you and your family’s medical history and performing a physical examination. Your doctor will also talk to you about the severity of your symptoms and check the pulses in your legs. If one of our affiliated vascular doctors suspects PAD, they will order the appropriate tests to help diagnose and confirm your condition.
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)
An ABI exam is generally used to diagnose PAD. Only taking a few minutes, this minimally invasive exam compares the blood pressure in your lower legs to the blood pressure in your arms. A blood pressure cuff is put on your leg while your vascular specialist uses an ultrasound device to look for poor blood flow. A normal ABI result is 1.00 to 1.40, and a value less than 0.90 is considered abnormal.
Angiography is a type of medical imaging that injects a contrast dye into the artery. After, X-ray images are taken to measure blood flow in the leg arteries to locate any peripheral blockages that may indicate signs of PAD.
Blood tests are used to check for high levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, or glucose, which can help predict if you are at a greater risk for peripheral artery disease or if the condition is present.
Computed Tomographic (CT) Angiography
CT Angiograms are minimally invasive tests that use an X-ray and contrast dye to create images of blood vessels in the arteries in your abdomen, pelvis, and legs. This CT test is also useful for patients with pacemakers or stents.
A duplex ultrasonography is a diagnostic test that produces images of the arteries with sound waves and measures the blood flow in an artery to show if there is a blockage that needs treatment.
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)
Magnetic resonance angiography is a type of MRI that looks at the body’s blood vessels and arteries. It produces cross-sectional images of the arteries without using X-rays to see if there are any abnormalities.
What to Do After You Are Diagnosed with PAD
If you are diagnosed with peripheral artery disease, there are several treatment options that can help reduce your symptoms. Although there is no cure for PAD, your vascular specialist can give you advice and/or work with your primary care physician to recommend lifestyle modifications or medications depending on the severity of your disease. Your specialist may advise you to do the following:
- Eat a healthier diet low in saturated and trans fat
- Take cholesterol & high blood pressure medication
- Participate in regular physical activity
- Properly manage diabetes & blood sugar levels
- Quit smoking cigarettes
Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease
If lifestyle modifications and medications aren’t enough, you may need to have a minimally invasive procedure. Over the last ten years, there have been dramatic advancements in technology, producing minimally invasive-image guided treatments which only require a small hole to gain entry to the arteries & veins. Our affiliated specialists may recommend the following:
- Amputation Prevention
- Stent Placement
Our Vascular Specialists
Our affiliated vascular specialists in NJ and NY specialize in treatment for peripheral artery disease. They provide high-quality care and have a proven track record of success in preventing the progression of PAD. When you visit American Endovascular, our team will accurately diagnose and detect if you have peripheral artery disease.
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