What is PAD?
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition in which fatty tissue called plaque builds up on the inside walls of the arteries. Plaque builds up causing the arteries to narrow in the legs and feet which do not receive the proper blood flow. This can cause heavy, tired or painful legs. If PAD goes untreated, it can cause ischemia (lack of oxygen) to the limbs which could lead to amputation.
Symptoms of PAD
- Claudication - leg pain when walking or exercising and subside when activity stops.
- Coldness or numbness in your legs and feet.
- Foot or toe pain at rest that often disturbs your sleep.
- Ulcers/Wounds on the feet or ankle that is slow to heal.
If you have any of the above symptoms, you may be experiencing PAD and need to call for an evaluation. The physician will look at the color, temperature and appearance plus feel for pulses in your legs and feet to determine if there is enough blood flow. He will also look for non-healing wounds. The examination will determine further testing such as an Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) or an Arterial Doppler Ultrasound to help diagnose and treat your PAD.
How is PAD treated?
There are three approaches to treating PAD. Making lifestyle changes, taking medications and in some cases having vascular procedure, angioplasty with stent or surgery.