Frequently Asked Questions about Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
If you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD), you probably have questions. At USA Vascular Centers, our vascular specialists can provide answers.
We work individually with each patient to develop a personalized PAD treatment plan. Our primary goals are to improve your quality of life and reduce your risks of serious health consequences.
Below, we provide answers to a number of frequently asked questions about PAD. For additional information, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our leading vascular specialists.
The most common symptom of peripheral artery disease is claudication. Claudication is muscle pain or weakness that begins with physical activity, such as walking, and stops within minutes after resting. This symptom is experienced by about one in four people with PAD.
Other types of leg symptoms, such as leg pain at rest, affect approximately 50% of PAD patients. Around 40% of individuals with PAD have no leg symptoms at all.
Before taking any vitamins or supplements, be sure to talk to your doctor. The best way to alleviate symptoms of PAD is by following personalized treatment recommendations from a vascular specialist.
Keep in mind that eating a healthy, well-rounded diet may offer all the nutrients you need. We suggest eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Vitamin K2 may be beneficial for peripheral artery disease. However, more study is needed to determine its effectiveness. Bear in mind that some supplements interfere with medications. Additionally, taking high quantities of certain supplements may cause adverse effects.
PAD places you at increased risk for dangerous health conditions. Some of these include:
- Heart attack
- Limb amputation
PAD can sometimes lead to death. In most cases, death occurs when untreated PAD leads to heart attack or stroke.
The health of your arteries can impact other body systems. This is because arteries are responsible for carrying blood throughout the body.
While PAD most commonly impacts arteries leading to the lower extremities, it can also restrict blood flow to your brain and other organs. Additionally, some men with PAD suffer from erectile dysfunction.
PAD is a progressive disease. Although there is no cure, there is treatment available. The good news is that you can live a full and productive life with PAD if you obtain treatment.
The legs are the most common location for peripheral artery disease. Leg symptoms can include claudication, skin changes, and pain at rest.
For many years, it has been common knowledge that PAD is mainly a male-dominated condition. New studies have shown that women may be at least as affected as men. They also may present with more severe symptoms, such as Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI).
Flying may be concerning for someone with PAD. Prolonged periods of sitting can impact blood circulation, which may aggravate your PAD symptoms. Before you fly, we suggest talking to your doctor for recommendations. They may advise:
- Bring medications in your carry-on
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Avoid sodium and alcohol
- Get up and walk around when possible
- Stretch and massage your legs and feet while seated
Compression socks are not usually advised for individuals with peripheral artery disease because they can further restrict blood flow to the region. If you wear compression socks for other reasons, such as blood clots or swelling, discuss best options with your doctor.
Massage therapy may be beneficial in temporarily alleviating PAD symptoms. However, more study is needed to determine its effectiveness. It should not be used instead of medical treatment.
If you decide to try massage therapy, consult your doctor first. Then, seek the services of a licensed massage therapist who has experience working with PAD patients.
Certain risk factors for PAD may be hereditary. These include:
- High blood pressure or cholesterol levels
- Family history of vascular disease
- History of a stroke or heart attack
Request a Consultation at USA Vascular Centers
If you have additional questions, we recommend consulting with one of our vascular specialists. We provide a range of PAD treatment options that aim to improve your quality of life.
To improve your vascular health, schedule an appointment today.