Hey! My name is Marley and this is my health advice blog. Maintaining your health is easy when you are young. However, as you get older, you may develop illnesses and disorders as a result of your lifestyle choices. When I hit the age of 50 years old, I suddenly realised that I had a lot of problems which I had been ignoring for a long time. I decided to visit my doctor and seek help. Over the past year, I have worked closely with my doctor to improve my lifestyle and my health. I hope my blog inspires you to do the same.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a vascular condition that is characterised by the build-up of plaque on the inner walls of your arteries. This impairs blood circulation and can make it difficult for sufficient volumes of blood to reach your limbs. Developing PAD is often an early sign that you are at an increased risk of developing other vascular conditions, such as stroke or atherosclerosis. Having a family history of any vascular condition increases the likelihood of developing PAD, and although the exact cause of PAD is not fully understood, those who smoke, those who are obese and those with high cholesterol appear to be more susceptible to developing the condition. Read on to learn about the signs of PAD and how it's diagnosed and treated.
Signs Of PAD
Common early signs of PAD include your feet feeling cold or numb when you are resting and leg pain or cramps when you are walking. You may also notice your toenails and fingernails don't grow as quickly as they once did and sores on your feet will generally take longer to heal. You don't have to have all of these symptoms and the presence of at least one should be enough for your doctor to consider PAD as the cause, particularly if there's a family history of vascular conditions.
Your doctor will make their diagnosis by taking a thorough account of your symptoms and analysing a sample of your blood to determine whether you have any risk factors, such as high cholesterol, or underlying health conditions that could cause similar symptoms, such as diabetes, which can impair blood circulation. You may also need to undergo a diagnostic vascular ultrasound. This imaging procedure is painless and simply involves your doctor passing a handheld device, known as a transducer, across the area of your body being investigated.
Sound waves are transmitted from the transducer to your soft tissues, and these sound waves react to the blood cells within your blood vessels. This reaction allows your doctor to determine whether your blood is circulating at a rate that is considered normal, or whether blood flow is restricted in the area being investigated. The ultrasound produces images that allow you doctor to determine the structural condition of your blood vessels and locate any areas that are not functioning adequately.
There are a few treatment options for PAD, and your doctor will discuss an appropriate treatment plan with you based on the outcome of your ultrasound. The goal of treatment is to prevent any additional plaque forming in your arteries and to ensure your blood is flowing as efficiently as possible. Treatment may include medication to thin your blood or reduce your cholesterol, and you may be offered support to make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or stopping smoking. You doctor may also determine you are a suitable candidate for angioplasty. This is a surgical procedure that involves dilating affected arteries with a small balloon, which improve blood flow through arteries that are significantly narrowed due to plaque.
If you would like more information about PAD, consult with your doctor.