Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
In some cases, a physical issue can actually be a precursor to an even more serious medical condition. An example of this is peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Being able to recognize the condition, and understanding how it affects your body, is instrumental for getting the help you need to prevent a dangerous complication. The good news is that positive lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of an issue arising. Be sure to come see The Kansas Foot Center if you become aware of any of the symptoms. We will provide the treatment you need to keep you safe!
Peripheral Arterial Disease
This condition is actually fairly common and it results in diminished blood circulation to the limbs. This happens because arteries have become narrowed due to plaque buildup along arterial walls (atherosclerosis). PAD can pose a significant risk to foot and ankle health, since the lower limbs are the farthest body parts from the heart and more subject to poor blood flow.
Generally, this condition is present throughout the entire body. The narrowed blood vessels come with an increased risk of serious medical emergencies (strokes, heart attacks). Reduced circulation to and from vital areas like the head and heart is very concerning, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms of PAD.
Symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease
Unfortunately, many individuals afflicted with the condition do not exhibit any symptoms in the early stages. With that said, it is imperative to seek medical attention as soon as you become aware of an issue. This will improve your odds of successful treatment and reduce the risk of a medical emergency.
Once the condition has progressed, observable warning signs of PAD include:
- Intermittent claudication (cramping or leg pain from physical activity) or ischemic rest pain. Ischemic rest pain happens during periods of rest and can be severe enough to disrupt sleep.
- Weakness, coldness, or numbness in your lower leg or foot, especially in comparison to the other one.
- Sores on the lower limbs that do not heal (or take an unusually long time to do so).
- Slower than normal hair growth, or even hair loss, on the lower body.
- Abnormal coloration, especially shiny skin, on your legs.
Treatment Options and Prevention Measures
It is certainly possible to manage PAD, and even stop its progression, with the use of healthy lifestyle changes such as:
- Quitting smoking. Smoking tobacco products contributes to damaged, constricted arteries, which cause and worsen the condition. Experts agree quitting is the best way to reduce the risk of severe complications from this disease.
- Eating a healthy diet. What you eat may contribute adversely to the condition, but dietary choices can also be integral to fighting against it. A diet low in saturated fats and rich in essential minerals and vitamins can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
- Exercising regularly. Exercise and physical activity can play an instrumental role in promoting healthy blood flow and teaching your muscles to use oxygen in an efficient manner.
Medication is typically targeted at decreasing high blood pressure, managing blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol, and preventing blood clots. Medications can also be prescribed to tackle various PAD symptoms. Angioplasty might be needed to reopen an artery by pushing the blockage into the artery wall.
The best way to prevent peripheral arterial disease is with healthy living. This means keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, exercising on a regular basis, and giving up smoking and tobacco use. Since food can play a role, avoid meals and foods with excessive amounts of saturated fats. You can further reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy bodyweight (which goes hand-in-hand with eating a healthy diet).
When You Recognize PAD Symptoms
If you recognize peripheral arterial disease symptoms in your lower legs or feet, be sure to contact The Kansas Foot Center for a professional diagnosis, and to receive the appropriate treatment. Doing so is essential for reducing your risk of suffering from a serious medical complication, like a stroke or heart attack.
Your health is of utmost important to us, so give us a call today at (316) 283-4330 for additional information or assistance in scheduling an appointment at any of our three Kansas offices – Newton, Emporia, and Wichita.