PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease) is the number one peripheral vascular disease. When the arteries that transport blood to the outer regions of the body become narrow or blocked, it reduces the blood flow to the limbs. Typically, PAD attacks the legs, although it can happen in the arms. PAD can become severe, leading to amputation, so it is critical to understand the basics of this disease.
What Causes PAD?
It should be no surprise that peripheral artery disease is caused by the same culprits of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Arteries become clogged and narrowed, significantly slowing blood flow. While the national conversation around heart disease has increased, we need to know that it isn’t just our hearts that are damaged by arterial disease.
Plaque clogs arteries, whether to the heart or other areas of the body. Primary contributors to increasing plaque include smoking and diabetes. In addition, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity are big risk factors for getting PAD. Finally, age is a factor. The older we get, the bigger risk we face from unhealthy lifestyle choices. While there are hereditary factors at work with PAD, exercise and a healthy diet and quitting smoking are choices we make that can help prevent PAD.
What are the Symptoms of PAD?
It’s vital to know that you may not have obvious PAD symptoms. However, if you experience pain or muscle spasms while walking or climbing stairs or using your arms, such as knitting or even driving, and the pain subsides when you stop the exercise, you could be experiencing peripheral artery disease. Numbness or coldness in the hand or foot, especially on only one side, can be a sign. You may notice the loss of hair growth on one arm or leg or even skin ulcers.
If peripheral artery disease is left untreated and no lifestyle changes are made, it can lead to losing a limb, so regular checkups are important. Your doctor can see signs of PAD and refer you to a specialist right away for treatment.
Can PAD be Treated?
In some cases, PAD can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication. However, when the disease has progressed, there may need to be surgical intervention. You need a surgeon who specializes in arterial disease so you can get state-of-the-art treatment that can restore your circulation and prevent the loss of limb. Dr. Alan I. Benvenisty is a highly-regarded specialist in vascular surgery in New York City and treats every patient according to their unique circumstance.
Contact Dr. Alan I. Benvenisty here for your consultation.
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