Peripheral Artery Disease FAQs
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common vascular disease that affects men and women over the age of 50. At American Endovascular, we want to educate patients about PAD and the associated causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatments. If you would like to learn more about PAD, please read our frequently asked questions for more information.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a vascular disease most frequently found in the legs caused by the gradual buildup of cholesterol plaque in the arteries. Over time, the accumulation of plaque on the walls of the arteries can cause them to narrow, making it more difficult for blood to flow freely to the legs and feet.
Peripheral arterial disease is a common disease for male and female patients over the age of 50. It is estimated that over 8.5 million people in the United States have PAD.
Atherosclerosis is the main cause of peripheral artery disease, which is when plaque or fatty deposits build up in your arteries. Different factors cause the vein walls to narrow and become rigid over time. Risk factors that contribute to PAD include:
- Over age 50
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Inactive Lifestyle
- Family history of vascular disease
Common signs and symptoms of PAD include:
- Cramping in the leg muscles while walking or exercising that goes away at rest
- A pain in your legs or feet that wakes you up at night
- Numbness or weakness in the affected limb(s)
- Non-healing wounds or sores that heal slowly or fail to heal
- Decreased rate of hair and nail growth on the affected limb(s)
- Skin discoloration on your lower extremities that may appear as purple or blue
- Foot pain while you are resting
If PAD is suspected, your doctor will perform a non-invasive test to determine if you have the condition. The most common test is the Ankle Brachial Pressure Index (ABI), which measures the difference between your systolic blood pressure in your arms and your systolic pressure in your ankles. Based on the results of this test, an ultrasound might be ordered by your doctor to determine the extent of the blockage in your arteries. Angiography, Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) Scan, Duplex Ultrasonography, and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) may also be used to precisely find the exact location of the blockage if a procedure is needed.
There are several ways you can reduce your risk for developing PAD.
- Quit smoking
- Lower your blood pressure
- Eat a healthier diet low in fat and cholesterol
- Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly based on your doctors recommendations
- If you have diabetes, follow all diet and medication recommendations from your doctor
- Taking prescribed medications, such as beta blockers, aspirin, or medication to treat symptoms
Medications to help improve symptoms of PAD focus on lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol, and in certain cases aspirin or other blood thinning medication. Your doctor may prescribe other medication to help reduce symptoms and may also recommend a regular exercise plan.
Depending on the severity of your PAD, we offer various treatment options. Our affiliated vascular specialists will determine the best treatment option based on your symptoms and stage of PAD. Minimally invasive procedures offered at our outpatient centers include:
- Stent Placement
If left untreated, patients who have peripheral artery disease are at a much higher risk for cardiovascular death and severe health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and the development of non-healing wounds in the legs or feet that may lead to amputation.
What Our Patients Are Saying
Learn more about our patients’ experiences at American Endovascular.
Recent Blogs & Videos
Learn more about vascular health, prevention, and care for Peripheral Artery Disease.