When the blood vessels in your legs get blocked, peripheral arterial disease causes a lack of blood flow to your legs, and may cause severe pain when standing or walking. Fortunately, the skilled cardiology team at Healing Hearts Clinic in Conroe, The Woodlands, and Huntsville, Texas, offers a full range of diagnostics and care fo r peripheral arterial disease. To learn more, book an appointment online.
Peripheral arterial disease is a circulation issue causing insufficient blood flow to your legs, and sometimes to your arms as well. Peripheral arterial disease can exist on its own, but in many cases it's an indicator of another condition, atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, your arteries are clogged with fatty deposits, causing the insufficient blood flow.
If atherosclerosis caused your peripheral arterial disease, you have an increased chance of developing critical limb ischemia, which could lead to leg amputation. Further, your risk for stroke and heart attack increases if atherosclerosis is behind your peripheral arterial disease.
Peripheral arterial disease doesn't always have symptoms. However, when there are symptoms, leg pain is the most common. The leg pain usually is felt first while you’re walking, but in cases of advanced peripheral arterial disease, it can also happen at rest. The pain usually happens above the clogged artery, and the most common location for this is the calf.
Other possible symptoms of peripheral arterial disease include:
In men, peripheral arterial disease can cause erectile dysfunction, as well.
Diagnosis starts with an exam. This may include a blood test to check cholesterol and diabetes. Your cardiologist typically follows that with an ankle-brachial index, when they check your ankle blood pressure as compared to your arm blood pressure.
You may also have other diagnostic tests, including ultrasound, angiography, or catheter angiography as needed.
Lifestyle changes, including stopping smoking, eating healthier, reducing blood pressure, and exercising regularly, are important in treating peripheral arterial disease. Sometimes, lifestyle changes may be enough to relieve your symptoms.
You may need extra help in the form of medication, including:
Sometimes, lifestyle changes and medication aren't enough. In that case, your cardiologist may recommend an angioplasty with stent procedure, graft bypass surgery, or thrombolytic therapy.
To learn more about peripheral arterial disease, book your appointment at Healing Hearts Clinic online or by phone now.