Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is a circulatory condition that affects the arteries in the lower half of the body. In healthy arteries, blood pumps freely. However, people with PAD have narrowed arteries that make it harder for blood to flow properly. In particular, blood flow to the legs and feet is impacted. Pain or fatigue in these areas are some of the most common symptoms. Clearly, those can impact everyday life.
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The most common cause of PAD is fatty deposits in the arteries. These deposits build up along the walls of the arteries and make it harder for blood to move through them. When blood doesn’t flow to certain parts of the body, those areas suffer. At its most dangerous, PAD can impact blood flow around the heart or brain. In all cases, it’s important to seek effective treatment.
Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease
While PAD does not always show symptoms, it is common for sufferers to experience some tell-tale signs that something is wrong. Common PAD symptoms include:
- Pain in the calves, buttocks, or hips, often after walking
- Nighttime leg pain that improves when dangling legs off the bed
- Leg or foot fatigue
- Leg or foot numbness
- Lower-body sores that don’t heal quickly
- Leg cramping
- Cold legs or feet
- Feet that sometimes turn a dark blue, purple-red, or pale color
- A weakened pulse, especially in the legs
- Loss of hair on the legs
- Erectile dysfunction
If you experience any of these symptoms, we suggest contacting Comprehensive Integrated Care so an interventional radiologist can evaluate you for PAD. Left untreated, PAD’s worst-case scenarios include chronic pain and even foot or leg amputation. To avoid that, we strongly recommend coming in for a non-invasive diagnostic test for PAD.
Interventional Radiology Treatment Options for Peripheral Artery Disease
The good news for those diagnosed with PAD is that there are effective treatment options. Here at CiC, interventional radiologists offer minimally invasive options to treat PAD without major surgery. There are a few different approaches our doctors may take, but all of them result in only a nick in the skin. A tiny catheter can be inserted to diagnose and treat the problem areas. This approach decreases recovery time and scarring, and provides fast relief of symptoms.
Our treatment options include:
- Angioplasty (percutaneous transluminal angioplasty) – By inserting a tiny, flexible catheter with a tiny balloon at one end, interventional radiologists can inflate arteries. This creates more room for blood to flow safely and effectively.
- Atherectomy – A different type of catheter features a tiny tool at the end that removes arterial plaque from blood vessels. Removing those blockages allows blood to flow more freely through arteries.
- Stenting – Using a tiny mesh tube, interventional radiologists can ensure that a widened artery stays open. It is an effective treatment that restores blood flow.
What you Can Do about Peripheral Artery Disease
Being diagnosed with any disease can be scary. The good news is that PAD tends to build up slowly and is easily treated. If you are curious what lifestyle choices can help your interventional radiology treatments yield the best results, we suggest trying some of the following PAD self-care tips:
- Quit smoking – While smoking is unhealthy for many reasons, it also doesn’t help PAD sufferers. In fact, it is among the worst things someone diagnosed with PAD can do. Smoking causes blood flow problems, even for people with otherwise healthy arteries. It can create even worse problems for those with PAD.
- Take better care of your feet – One symptom of PAD is sores on the legs or feet that don’t easily heal. We suggest keeping an eye on sores in those areas and treating them when they occur. It’s also a good idea to take extra care when cutting your toenails. If you have concerns about sores on your feet, consider seeing a podiatrist.
- Practice good nutrition – As with many things, eating and drinking healthier foods and beverages is a good idea. For PAD, healthier foods create less plaque buildup in arteries.
- Exercise – Another way to limit plaque buildup is to exercise regularly. Unfortunately, those with PAD can sometimes struggle to exercise because of pain or cramping. Remember that exercise can help those symptoms!
- Visit your doctor – Regular checkups with a general care doctor are always important. Part of the reason is because they can catch diseases like PAD in the early stages. Skipping doctor’s appointments may allow slow-moving diseases like this to worsen without you noticing.
Don’t worry if you’ve been diagnosed with PAD. Comprehensive Integrated Care has treatment options and skilled interventional radiologists to diagnose and treat this disease. If you’re experiencing symptoms, contact us at your earliest convenience. We’ll help you get the relief you need and deserve.
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