Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which blood flow to the limbs is reduced due to narrowing of blood vessels. It is likely to be a sign of fatty deposits in the walls of arteries(atherosclerosis). Peripheral artery disease causes many difficulties in which leg pain when walking is the most notable one as blood flow to the extremities (usually legs) is reduced.
- Blood vessel inflammation
- Injury to limbs
- Unusual anatomy of ligaments or muscles
- Radiation exposure
- Claudition(leg pain while walking or climbing stairs)
- Leg numbness and weakness
- Change in colour of legs
- Hair loss on legs and feet
- Thinning of skin on legs and ulcers
- Slower growth of toenails
- Absence of or weak pulse in legs and feet
- Coldness in feet
- Sores on legs, toes or feet that does not heal
- Erectile dysfunction in men
Diagnosing peripheral artery disease will be based on the following:
- Physical examination
- Ankle brachial index(ABI)
- Ultrasound scan
- Blood tests
- Avoid smoking
- Keep good control on blood sugar levels
- Keep good control on cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- Regular exercise
- Healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Treatment for peripheral artery disease involves medications, medical and surgical procedures and supervised exercise programs.
- Medications include drugs to regulate cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, drugs to prevent blood clots and symptom relief medications as directed by a doctor.
- Medical procedure includes:
- Angioplasty wherein a catheter is inserted through a blood vessel to the affected artery.
- Thrombolytic therapy wherein a blood clot blocking an artery is treated by injecting a clot dissolving drug.
- Surgical procedure includes bypass surgery in which the surgeon may create a graft bypass using a blood vessel from any other part of the body or a synthetic man made blood vessel.
- Supervised exercise programs involve exercise training done to increase the pain-free walking distance.
- In addition to the above-mentioned treatment suggestions, careful and proper foot care is also important which includes
- Clean feet regularly and moisturise often
- Use dry, clean and well-fitting socks and shoes
- Take care when trimming your nails
- Regularly check feet for injuries and fungal infections.
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