Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) occurs when arteries become narrowed by cholesterol-rich material called plaque. According to the national Institute of Health (NIH) PAD affects 8 to 12 million people in the US, especially those over 50. Because PAD interferes with blood circulation, if the symptoms are left untreated they can lead to heart stroke, gangrene or limb amputation.
One of the most common symptoms of PAD is leg cramping during exercise or walking which completely stops at rest. This pain is due to insufficient blood flow in the legs (caused by blocked arteries). This condition is called “intermittent claudication. “These symptoms are most common in the calf muscles.
However, in advanced cases of Peripheral Artery Disease the arteries are so blocked that even rest doesn’t relieve the pain. Leg pain that continues when the legs are at rest is called “ischemic rest pain.” Ischemia is the medical term for insufficient blood flow.
The symptoms of Ischemia are:
- Pain or tingling in the foot or toes. Sometimes this pain is so severe that even the weight of clothes or bed sheets cause or worsen the discomfort.
- Pain worsens when leg is elevated and improves by dangling legs over the side of the bed.
- Calf muscles that shrink
- Hair loss on the toes and feet
- Thick toe nails
- Shiny and tight skin
- Painful and non-healing ulcers on the feet or toes.
Patients with ischemic rest pain are at a higher risk for skin ulcers on the lower legs or toes or gangrene. In more advanced cases limb amputation may be required.
At USA Vascular Centers we offer a minimally invasive and non-surgical treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease- Stent Angioplasty. This procedure improves the blood circulation to the legs and improves the quality of life and mobility for the patient. This procedure involves inserting a tiny tube (catheter) into the affected artery, which implants a small mesh stent that is expanded by a tiny balloon. As the stent expands, it compresses the formation of plaque so that the blood can flow freely through the artery.
If you are suffering from the symptoms of advance PAD don’t wait! If left untreated it can lead to more serious complications. Call (888) 628 9389 to schedule a consultation with one of our vascular specialists. Treatments at USA Vascular Centers are covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. To schedule a consultation online click here.