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Take our PAD Risk Assessment now: TAKE THE QUIZ

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Is Shiny Skin a Sign of Peripheral Artery Disease?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a chronic condition in which the blood flow to the extremities, especially the legs, feet, and ankles, is inhibited. The reason for this reduced blood flow is plaque buildup in the arteries leading to the extremities, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

Plaque builds up over a lifetime, and for some people, symptoms don’t become noticeable until the disease has progressed significantly. This is why it’s imperative that you visit a vascular specialist, like our doctors at USA Vascular Centers, if you have any symptoms or concerns. Our physicians’ expertise and rankings signify their commitment to providing the best PAD care in the nation. 

When it comes to PAD symptoms, one of the most common signs is leg pain while exercising (intermittent claudication). Still, there are several additional symptoms to watch out for, such as shiny skin on the legs, feet, and ankles.

If you have experienced this symptom and think your peripheral artery disease presents as shiny skin, schedule a screening with the vascular specialists at USA Vascular Centers. Our doctors are skilled in diagnosing and treating PAD. Your USA Vascular Centers care team can provide you with a personalized plan to help alleviate symptoms. 

What Causes Shiny Skin on Lower Legs and Feet?

If you’re wondering what causes skin to be shiny with peripheral artery disease, you’re not alone. With PAD, your blood circulation is impaired. The oxygen-rich blood from your heart must pass through narrowed arteries, making the flow of blood slow and inefficient. 

Shiny skin is known as a “trophic change” and is a form of atrophy or a sign of skin deterioration  due to lack of blood flow. Peripheral artery disease-related shiny skin can also result from inflammation and swelling in the lower extremities, which is linked to the high blood pressure that often goes hand in hand with PAD. 

Because circulation is negatively impacted, the lower extremities can also retain blood, causing swelling and taut, shiny skin on the legs. Left untreated, PAD can lead to tissue death, but severe consequences can be avoided.. This is why it’s important to seek treatment from knowledgeable providers, like the doctors at USA Vascular Centers. Our renowned specialists provide advanced diagnosis and treatment for PAD.

Diagnosing PAD

Here at USA Vascular Centers, our vascular specialists know what to look for when it comes to symptoms of peripheral artery disease. Before your consultation, make a list of the symptoms of PAD you’re experiencing. For example, do you notice abnormally shiny skin on your lower extremities? What about additional symptoms of PAD, such as:

  • Loss of hair on your legs
  • Blue, discolored feet or legs
  • Slowed toenail growth
  • Brittle skin
  • Numbness in the legs
  • Leg pain while exercising
  • Slowed healing of wounds
  • Sores on the legs, feet, and ankles

With early treatment, PAD can be managed, which is why it’s crucial to consult a vascular specialist when you first notice symptoms of peripheral artery disease, such as shiny skin. To diagnose PAD, your doctor may perform an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test, which measures and compares the blood pressure in your arms and ankles. 

Your doctor may also choose to do a vascular ultrasound, using a handheld device called a transducer that bounces soundwaves off your cells, producing ultrasonic images of your arteries.

An angiogram can also be performed. This is a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter, contrast dye, and X-ray imaging are used to detect blockages in the vascular system. Once your doctor has diagnosed PAD, you can move forward with a treatment plan.

How to Treat Shiny Skin and Peripheral Artery Disease

Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help treat peripheral artery disease and shiny skin, including:

These lifestyle changes can help improve PAD symptoms. Exercising regularly, for example, can push your body to grow new blood vessels. This can help lower blood pressure and improve circulation, and as a result, help treat your shiny leg skin. You may also need to take medication to help lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of blood clots, or lower your cholesterol. 

For advanced PAD, one of our doctors at USA Vascular Centers may need to widen narrowed arteries by performing a minimally invasive treatment, such as:

Schedule a Consultation with USA Vascular Centers

At USA Vascular Centers, our vascular specialists want to help you reduce peripheral artery disease symptoms like shiny skin. Start your journey toward an improved quality of life today and schedule an appointment with one of our trusted specialists online. 

You can also give us a call at 888.773.2193. We look forward to helping you achieve a better quality of life.

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