Have you sat in a traffic jam, moving painfully slow or going nowhere and wondering why? The holdup to optimize traffic flow can be tough on our vehicles, as well as our demeanor. The body’s circulatory system is much the same; you may be experiencing unhealthy side effects from poor blood circulation throughout your body.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a threatening condition in which blood circulation is clogged, blocked, or narrowed in the arteries or veins. PAD typically causes pain and fatigue, often in your legs and occasionally in the arms. When a person develops PAD, their legs or arms — usually the legs — do not receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand, causing symptoms, such as leg pain when walking.
About 50% of people diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease are symptom-free. For those who experience symptoms, the most common first symptom is painful leg cramping that occurs with exercise and is relieved by rest. This condition is known as intermittent claudication. This happens because, during rest, the muscles need less blood flow; therefore, the pain will fade. Depending on the location of the clogged or narrowed artery pain may occur in one or both legs.
Who is at risk for PAD?
- Age (especially those older than 50)
- History of heart disease
- Postmenopausal women
- Family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or peripheral vascular disease
Risk factors include:
- Coronary Artery Disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- Smoking or use of tobacco products (Those who smoke or have diabetes have the highest risk of complications from PAD because these risk factors also cause impaired blood flow)
Early detection is vital:
Approximately eight million Americans suffer from PAD. Yet, only about 1 out of 5 patients require intervention. Most patients can be treated medically with a combination of risk factor control and exercise.
If symptoms advance, PAD may lead to conditions affecting tissue loss and eventually amputation if left untreated. Having an angiogram reduces the odds of amputation in patients by 90%.
Those who have Peripheral Arterial Disease are at more than six times the risk of death from coronary heart disease as those without PAD. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it is crucial to see a doctor and discuss a treatment plan.
Keeping your body’s circulatory system in optimal condition is the lifeblood for your health and wellbeing.
Vascular Surgery Associates:
Vascular Surgery Associates offers a complete evaluation of vascular diseases, including a fully staffed non-invasive vascular lab complete with the latest ultrasound technology. If a patient is found with any vascular disease, we will assess the situation to see which procedure fits the patient’s needs best. We invite you to visit our website www.vsafl.com to learn more about how Vascular Surgery Associates can promote your overall vascular health!