What is Peripheral Artery Disease?
Peripheral artery disease or PAD is a progressive circulatory condition caused by plaque buildup that leads to narrowed arteries in people over the age of 50, which can become serious if left untreated. PAD is caused when extra fats and cholesterol circulating in the blood collect in your artery walls. This can lead to the blood flow being reduced or completely blocked to your limbs, especially your legs.
The most common risk factors of PAD include:
- Being male or of African-American descent
- Current or former smoker
- History of diabetes or vascular disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
While the above-listed are the most common risk factors, anyone can be at risk of developing PAD.
It is important to remember that not all patients experience symptoms. However, people with PAD usually report feeling symptoms like pain in the legs or feet that disturbs sleep, slow or non-healing wounds on the legs and feet, lower temperature in one leg, color changes in three skin of feet, or fatigue and cramping in legs that stops when activity is stopped.
PAD symptoms are often ignored because many people think their leg pain is due to arthritis or aging. But PAD will not get better over time and can progress to more dangerous health problems.
Complications of PAD
Unfortunately, PAD does not improve with time and needs attention to avoid disease progression. If left untreated, PAD can lead to serious health conditions such as:
- Heart attack – permanent damage to the heart muscle caused by lack of blood supply to the heart
- Stroke – interruption of blood flow to the brain
- Transient ischemic attack – a temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain
- Renal artery disease or stenosis – a narrowing or blockage of the artery that supplies blood to the kidney
- Amputation – the removal of part or all of the foot or leg
Diagnosis of PAD
USA Vascular Centers uses a painless test called an Ankle-Brachial Index to determine whether or not you are at risk of developing Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), or how severe your PAD has progressed.
Managing PAD Symptoms
There is no magic cure to prevent the development of PAD completely, but you can make lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk factors.
The most effective lifestyle changes are:
- Quitting smoking
- Monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol
- Following a healthy diet and staying active.
These changes will help your overall health and decrease your risk of developing PAD, but they are not a cure for the disease itself. If you have been diagnosed with PAD or notice any of the previously listed symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease
PAD can partially or completely block blood flow to your limbs, but this can be treated through the use of a procedure known as stent angioplasty. This procedure uses a mesh stent to restore blood flow to the blocked arteries. Stent angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure that inserts a catheter into the blocked artery and implants a small mesh stent which is then expanded by a tiny balloon. Once the stent expands, it compresses plaque formation, returning blood flow to the artery.
Benefits of Outpatient Stent Angioplasty
There are numerous benefits to choosing nonsurgical, outpatient treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease:
- Allows patients to avoid a hospital stay
- General anesthesia is not required
- No stitches or scarring after treatment
- Stent angioplasty is effective and FDA-approved
- Nonsurgical treatments have lower post-treatment risks than surgery
- Treatment is highly effective at relieving painful symptoms
- Able to recover in the comfort of your own home following treatment
You can learn more about Stent Angioplasty and the benefits of choosing nonsurgical treatment on our website.
Stent Angioplasty Treatment at USA Vascular Centers
If you have been diagnosed with PAD, you are not alone. At USA Vascular Centers, we offer treatment for PAD in our outpatient treatment centers. Our experienced vascular specialists and staff will help you through your entire treatment process and reduce the symptoms associated with PAD. Call us at 888-773-2193 or schedule online to begin your PAD recovery.