An aching pain in your legs that gets worse when you walk and better when you stop could be claudication. If you’re experiencing this symptom of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), contact board-certified specialist Ramzan Zakir, MD, of Cardiac & Vascular Interventions of New Jersey. At his practice in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Dr. Zakir can open the narrowed arteries responsible for your condition. Avoid PAD complications like arterial ulcers by calling Cardiac & Vascular Interventions of New Jersey or using the online booking form today.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition affecting the arteries that deliver blood to your legs. It develops when you have atherosclerosis — clogged or hardened arteries.
Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in your body — in your heart, it can cause coronary artery disease (CAD) and bring on a heart attack. Atherosclerosis is a buildup of sticky plaque that causes the affected arteries to get increasingly narrow, so there’s insufficient blood flow.
With PAD, that means your legs aren’t receiving the oxygen and nutrients they need, resulting in cell death and tissue damage. One of the key symptoms of PAD is claudication — an aching in your legs when you walk (due to oxygen starvation) that wears off when you rest.
If the tissue deteriorates too far, it can cause ischemic or arterial ulcers to develop.
Arterial ulcers are open wounds that appear when the tissue damage in your legs reaches a severe stage. The ulcers can develop on your legs, ankles, or toes, and they typically look like a punched-out hole.
The flesh may be gray, black, dark red, or yellow, with no bleeding, and wounds may be so deep that tendons are visible. Arterial ulcers can be treatment-resistant, persisting for months and sometimes years.
The plaque that builds up in your arteries when you have PAD consists of fatty cholesterol deposits and debris such as calcium from your blood.
Excess cholesterol that your body can’t process gathers in your blood and the mixture of waste materials gradually collect on the inside of the artery walls.
As high cholesterol is the main issue, taking steps to reduce the unhealthy fats in your diet is the best way to prevent PAD.
You might need to take medication to lower your cholesterol levels. You can also stop the plaque buildup from worsening by making changes to your lifestyle, such as:
If your PAD is advanced or you develop an arterial ulcer, you might need to undergo balloon angioplasty. This procedure widens the arteries, improving blood flow and helping the tissues to heal.
Dr. Zakir uses a catheterization technique to perform angioplasty. Under fluoroscopy (moving X-ray) guidance, he passes a tiny tube or catheter into a large artery, until it reaches the diseased section.
He then inflates a miniature balloon that squashes the plaque flat against the artery walls. He might also insert a mesh tube called a stent that stays in the artery to keep it open.
If you have symptoms of PAD, call Cardiac & Vascular Interventions of New Jersey or book an appointment online today.