What is Peripheral Arterial Disease PAD?
Peripheral Arterial Disease PAD, also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), is a very common condition affecting 20% of Americans age 65 and older. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) develops most commonly as a result of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which occurs when cholesterol and scar tissue build up, forming a substance called plaque inside the arteries. This is a very serious condition. The clogged arteries cause decreased blood flow to the legs, which can result in pain when walking, and eventually gangrene and amputation. Because atherosclerosis is a systemic disease (that is, affects the body as a whole), individuals with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) are likely to have blocked arteries in other areas of the body. Thus, those with PAD are at increased risk for heart disease, aortic aneurysms and stroke. Peripheral Arterial Disease is also a marker for diabetes, hypertension and other conditions.
What are PAD Symptoms?
A common symptom of Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD is called intermittent claudication, which is painful cramping in the leg or hip that occurs when walking or exercising and typically disappears when the person stops the activity. You may also experience:
- Numbness, tingling and weakness in the lower legs and feet
- Burning or aching pain in feet or toes when resting
- Sore on leg or foot that won’t heal
- Cold legs or feet
- Color change in skin of legs or feet
- Loss of hair on legs
- Have pain in the legs or feet that awakens you at night
- Many people simply live with their pain, assuming it is a normal part of aging, rather than reporting it to their doctor.
Who is affected by PAD?
PAD is a disease of the arteries that affects 10 million Americans. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) can happen to anyone, regardless of age, and is most commonly seen in men and women over age 50.
You may be at risk for PAD if:
- Over age 50
- Inactive (and do not exercise)
- Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol or high lipid blood test
- Have a family history of vascular disease, such as PAD, aneurysm, heart attack or stroke
How is PAD Diagnosed?
The most common test for PAD is the ankle-brachial index (ABI) and Ultrasound. ABI is a painless exam in which Ultrasound is used to measure the ratio of blood pressure in the feet and arms. Based on the results of an ABI as well as one’s symptoms and risk factors for PAD, a doctor can decide if further tests are needed. PAD also can be diagnosed non-invasively with an imaging technique called Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) or with Computed Tomography (CT) Angiography.
Steps to take
- Call to schedule a consultation: During your consultation you will be able to ask questions and have your questions answered by a medical professional. This step will help you make an informed decision for your treatment options. Call 727-475-4039
- Day of consultation: Please arrive 20 minutes before your appointment to fill out necessary paperwork and a health questionnaire. Bring any patient history such as previous ultrasound imaging and notes from your primary care doctor (if you have any). During your consultation you will be evaluated based on symptoms and be able to ask questions plus get knowledgeable information to help you make an informed and educated decision on vascular disease treatment and care.
- Return for Ultrasound: If you have not already had diagnostic image testing done, you will return for an Ultrasound and ABI (Ankle Brachial Index, a test to measure the blood pressure in your legs). This test will provide us with the knowledge on which treatment if any needs to be applied.
- The day of your procedure: Please arrive 20 minutes before your appointment time to fill out additional paperwork and to go over simple instructions for your return home. The minimally invasive treatments offered here at Coastal Vascular Specialists are same day procedures, so you will be returning home that day. Please be sure to have someone with you. This person will be given a prescription for pain management if necessary.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a major public health issue. The Society of Interventional Radiology recommends greater screening efforts through the use of the ankle-brachial index (ABI) test.
Many symptoms of PAD are very similar to Venous Insufficiency. See our Varicose Vein page for more information.
Are You at Risk for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?
Contact Coastal Vascular Specialists at 727-475-4039 for a consultation in our Clearwater Florida office