Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is caused by a contraction of the arteries which causes poor blood circulation, primarily to the legs. Most people who have this condition are not aware of it or will mistake their symptoms for some other type of condition.
Primary Symptoms of PAD
People who develop peripheral artery disease and partake in exercises in the form of walking or running will feel the symptoms of it the most. There just doesn’t seem to be enough energy in their legs to continue with their workout. If they climb stairs or walk to work regularly, they might find that it becomes more difficult to do so.
This is because of the constricted arteries and their inability to deliver oxygen-rich blood to that part of their bodies. The constricted feeling in their legs gets worse over time and will very likely become painful. Generally, most of the symptoms will be felt or noticed in the legs.
Wounds Won’t Heal
Men and women who have this condition might find that they have sores or wounds on their ankles, legs or feet that seem to take forever to heal. This is a major symptom of peripheral artery disease. There isn’t enough blood flow to these areas to help the wounds heal in good time.
Cool Legs and Feet
It all goes back to the blood flow situation. There just isn’t enough blood flowing to the legs to warm the legs and feet. The legs will often feel much cooler than the arms do. Many will find themselves wearing leg warmers or warm jogging pants when attempting to exercise.
Loss of Hair
Not everybody has hairy legs, but men often do. People who have this condition will find that the hair on their legs begins to recede. It’s very noticeable, especially if the legs were once very hairy. Blood carries nutrients, and if there are not enough nutrients getting to the legs, hair loss might occur.
Diagnosis and Treatment
It’s very easy for our team at Cardiac Associates of North Jersey to tell if a patient has peripheral artery disease. The first step may be to measure the blood pressure on the patient’s arm as well as the ankle area. A patient who has the same level of blood pressure on both the ankle and arms doesn’t have PAD. However, if the blood pressure on the ankle is lower than the blood pressure on the arm, it’s an indication that they do have peripheral artery disease.
Our doctors will also check to see where the main blockage in the arteries is occurring. This involves injecting a dye into the blood vessels and then using X-ray imaging to find out where the blockage is occurring.
The good news is that peripheral artery disease is a very treatable condition. If a patient smokes, giving up smoking should be the first step. Exercise and a healthy diet full of fruits and leafy, green vegetables can start to repair the damage as well.
A consultation with one of our doctors at Cardiac Associates of North Jersey is another crucial step to take. If a patient has this condition and does nothing about it, it can very well lead to catastrophic health ailments. Our office is located in Oakland. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.