Peripheral artery disease involves impairment of the blood flow through the arteries to upper and lower extremities, like the feet. With this condition, the peripheral blood vessels narrow which decreases blood supply and oxygen to tissues within the legs and feet. Without proper blood flow, cells in your legs and feet cannot perform their functions well and may die. This, in turn, can lead to symptoms ranging from pain to gangrene, and the latter if left untreated could result in amputation. This condition affects both genders and is more common in older people. The main symptom of this disease, if there are any symptoms at all, is pain. An examination will involve looking for signs of trauma, muscle wasting, swelling, redness, absent hair patches, shin abnormalities such as staining, inflammation, or shininess, and ulcers on the foot or leg. Given the severity of complications arising from peripheral artery disease, regular visits to a podiatrist, especially as one ages, are recommended to diagnose and properly treat this disease before it becomes life-threatening.
Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with one of our podiatrists from PA Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.
Symptoms of PAD include:
- Claudication (leg pain from walking)
- Numbness in legs
- Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
- Paleness of the skin
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heal
- Coldness in one leg
It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.
While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.
Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Allentown, Easton, Northampton, and Chew Street in Allentown, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.