Every system in your body depends on the support of your circulatory system to supply nutrient-rich blood. Any time that this blood supply becomes compromised, your health can suffer. Your arms and legs — your body’s peripheral locations — typically suffer first.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) describes the condition when inadequate blood flow becomes chronic. There’s no longer enough fresh blood flow through your limbs to answer the demands of your body. Without treatment, you could develop sores and ulcers that don’t heal or worse, you’ll have an increased chance of heart attack or stroke.
Fortunately, it’s easy and painless for a doctor to diagnose PAD, and treatment usually includes medication and lifestyle changes, as well as treating any underlying conditions that may be contributing. For the best care, contact Cardiac and Vascular Interventions of New Jersey. Dr. Ramzan Zakir is a PAD specialist, with the expert knowledge and assistance you need to manage your disease.
About 8.5 million Americans have PAD, affecting up to 20% of those over the age of 60. The most common form of the condition affects the lower legs, where blood flow is most likely to be compromised in both arteries and veins.
PAD doesn’t always produce obvious symptoms and when these are mild, it’s easy to mistake them for signs of other problems. For some PAD patients, though, claudication becomes an issue. This is leg pain that happens when you’re walking. The motion of your legs increases the demand for fresh blood supply, which your affected arteries can’t supply in sufficient volume, and the result is leg pain.
Claudication often starts in the calves, with pain originating near an area of reduced artery diameter. Pain can range from mild to severe, though it usually subsides quickly when you rest. As well as this pain, PAD has other symptoms, too.
Symptoms of PAD
Besides claudication, you may have other signs that PAD is active. These can include:
- Cramping in calves, hips, or thighs, associated with activity like walking or climbing stairs
- Cold sensations in your feet, usually on one side only
- Numbness or tingling in your feet, lower legs, or hands
- Hair loss or slow growth on your lower legs
- Shiny skin on your shins
- Wounds on your feet and lower legs are slow to heal
- Men may suffer from erectile dysfunction
There are other signs and symptoms of PAD, and you could have the disease without having all of the symptoms. If you’re unsure, schedule a visit with Dr. Zakir and his team.
The first stage of PAD treatment is typically pain management. Since you may be experiencing pain when you’re physically active, it’s important to ease these symptoms because increased activity is one of the best ways to limit the effects of PAD. Heart-healthy diet and exercise are particularly effective for PAD treatment.
Tobacco use in any form has negative effects on the health of blood vessels, so quitting smoking becomes even more important. Other conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure can all contribute to PAD, so treatments for these conditions, including medications, can also help to reduce your symptoms.
Contact Cardiac and Vascular Interventions of New Jersey in New Brunswick at the first sign of blood flow restrictions. Call the appointment line at 732-226-8547 to schedule your appointment. As with many medical conditions, the sooner you start treatment, the better your prognosis. Book your consultation now.