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Poor circulation in the legs and feet can signify peripheral artery disease (PAD). This condition affects blood flow in the lower limbs. If you have some of the risk factors for PAD, such as diabetes, a smoking habit, or high cholesterol, you could be wondering if you have poor circulation. 

For extra guidance in determining t if you have signs of peripheral artery disease and decreased circulation, contact one of our board-certified vascular doctors at USA Vascular Centers. With over 100 locations throughout the country, USA Vascular Centers can help you start on a journey toward improved circulation in the legs and minimized PAD symptoms. 

Signs of Peripheral Artery Disease and Decreased Circulation

Do one or both of your legs feel persistently tingly or numb? Have you noticed stinging or pulsating pain in your legs? These are a sign of poor circulation in the legs. 

Bad circulation in the legs can be a sign of peripheral artery disease. These signs may seem insignificant, and some might brush them off as aging-related issues. 

it’s wise to pay attention to them, however. Poor circulation is often an underlying symptom of a serious vascular condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). 

In addition, if you have any of the symptoms of poor blood circulation, or PAD symptoms such as coldness in the legs or feet, hair loss on your legs, skin discoloration, ulcers, or slowed toenail growth, you should see a vascular doctor right away. When there is not enough oxygen-rich blood flowing to the lower extremities, the legs cannot perform regular functions, such as growing hair and staying warm. There are several reasons why you might experience poor circulation symptoms.  

Causes of Poor Circulation in Lower Extremities

While PAD is one of the causes of poor circulation; it isn’t the only reason you might be experiencing symptoms. Raynaud’s disease, for example, is a condition marked by chronic, cold feet due to the spasming and narrowing of small arteries in your toes. Raynaud’s can also affect your fingers and other parts of the body. Usually, the condition is annoying but not serious.

Another potential cause for poor circulation is diabetes. When you have diabetes, your body cannot process sugar properly, resulting in fatty deposits in the bloodstream. These deposits cause the arteries to harden and become narrow, which impedes blood flow. 

Diabetes puts you at risk for PAD because of this narrowing of the arteries.

Blood clots can also cause poor blood circulation because the blood cannot move past the blocked space in the vascular system. If you suspect a blood clot, seek emergency care immediately. With PAD, poor circulation is caused by plaque (atherosclerosis) in the arteries leading to the legs, feet, and ankles. 

Diagnosing PAD

Symptoms of poor circulation in legs specific to PAD include leg cramps while walking or climbing stairs (intermittent claudication), sores or wounds on the lower extremities that just won’t heal, shiny skin on the legs, and leg discoloration due to poor circulation. If you suspect you may have PAD, the vascular doctors at USA Vascular Centers can perform diagnostic tests to determine whether or not you have PAD.

The first test is called an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test. It involves measuring the blood pressure in your arms and feet before comparing the two numbers. Your doctor will be able to tell whether or not the number indicates PAD. 

The second test is a minimally invasive procedure called an angiogram. In it, your vascular doctor uses a catheter, contrast dye, and x-ray imaging to see your vascular system. An angiogram can help pinpoint the location of blockages and narrowed areas in the arteries.

How to Treat Poor Circulation in Legs and Peripheral Artery Disease

It’s important to make specific lifestyle changes if you have signs of peripheral artery disease and decreased circulation. Starting a nutrition and exercise plan, for example, can help improve circulation in the legs. If you smoke, quitting smoking is vital to helping control your PAD symptoms. 

Your doctor may prescribe medications to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. In many cases, further treatment is needed to help patients regain some of the abilities lost to PAD and poor circulation. At USA Vascular Centers, our expert vascular doctors perform three minimally invasive procedures to widen narrowed arteries: angioplasty, stent placement, and atherectomy

Schedule a Consultation with USA Vascular Centers

Are you concerned that PAD might be causing your poor circulation symptoms? The doctors at USA Vascular Centers are here to help. All of our treatments take place in one of our state-of-the-art outpatient centers, and our minimally invasive procedures take just 30 to 45 minutes to complete. You won’t undergo general anesthesia or even require stitches, so you will be able to get back to your favorite activities sooner.

When you schedule an appointment with us, your care team will craft a personalized treatment plan for you. Schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified vascular doctors online or call us at 888.773.2193 today.

Sources Cited
[1] “Hip Pain Causes.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, May 20, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/hip-pain/basics/causes/sym-20050684.
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