Peripheral Artery Disease

 Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease ARE YOU AT RISK? Find Out NOW!. 

By: Michael S. Conte, MD

"Peripheral Artery Disease"!. how serious is  (PAD)?  We all know mainly develops from plaque in arteries near the heart, and leads to "heart disease"  heart attack, and plaque in the arteries of the neck and brain can lead to poor blood flow, blood clot, and stroke.

Peripheral Artery Disease' develops plaque and is typically found in arteries that supply blood to the legs.  This indication that the blood flow also may be inhibited throughout the body' which increases risk for"heart disease"  heart attack and stroke, as well as severe disability or loss of a limb.

Doctors have long been aware of Peripheral "Artery Disease", but the disease has received relatively little attention because patients either don’t have symptoms or have only mild or moderate ones that are wrongly attributed to normal signs of aging.

What’s new is The link between Peripheral Artery Disease and cardiovascular disease is now so strong that virtually all doctors agree that a diagnosis of PAD warrants a checkup and monitoring by a vascular specialist.

What you need to know to protect yourself or a loved one...

 

Diabetes Doubles Your Risk of Peripheral Artery Disease, and Stroke.

Peripheral Artery Disease is surprisingly common. It affects up to 10 million Americans. Because Peripheral Artery Disease is associated with the same risk factors as heart attack through "heart disease" and stroke. the risk for PAD is higher among adults who are over age 50 and/or people who have elevated cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Having diabetes doubles the risk of developing PAD. Prediabetes also increases risk, but the greatest risk comes from smoking. At least 80% of people with PAD are current or former smokers. Statistically, the worst combination is smoking and having diabetes" when combined increases the risk of developing, blood clot, or PAD fivefold.

Peripheral Artery Disease symptoms

Peripheral Artery Disease is dangerous because it can creep up on you without causing symptoms. In fact, up to half of people with Peripheral Artery Disease do not have symptoms.

When symptoms do occur, they start out mild and may be easy to dismiss. Because blood flow is compromised, activities that involve the use of the legs -- walking, for example -- can become more difficult and feel more tiring.

 

Peripheral Artery Disease Seem Like Ordinary Aches and Pains.

As plaque decrease blood flow' blood clot blockages become more severe. Peripheral "Artery Disease" causes intermittent claudication. legs become painful or achy or cramp up while walking.

At first, a person with Peripheral "Artery Disease" may experience symptoms of intermittent claudication only after walking long distances or up a hill or while climbing stairs. The discomfort usually goes away after sitting down and resting for a few minutes. If the condition is left untreated, even a short stroll will trigger the pain.

What most people don’t know: In rare cases, Peripheral "Artery Disease" can occur in the hands and arms leading to symptoms such as aching or cramping in the arms.

 

Peripheral Artery Disease TESTS and PROPER DIAGNOSIS.

Not all doctors agree on who should be screened for Peripheral Artery Disease . However, it’s wise to be tested if any of the following risk factors apply to you.

Developed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

Younger than age 50: If you have diabetes and an additional risk factor (such as smoking or high blood pressure).

Age 50 to 69: If you have a history of smoking or diabetes.

Age 70 and older -- even if you have no known risk factors.

Many experts believe that screening also is warranted -- regardless of your age -- if you have...

Leg symptoms, such as aches and cramping with exertion.

Diagnosis of atherosclerosis, fatty buildup in the walls of the arteries, including those in the heart and neck.

Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in the feet or cold feet or areas of color change (bluish or dark color, for example) on your toes -- an indication of compromised blood flow. High blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammation marker.

Peripheral "Artery Disease" TESTS YOU NEED.

If you meet one of the criteria described above, ask your doctor to test you for Peripheral "Artery Disease". He/she will perform a measurement called an ankle-brachial index to get a sense of whether blood pumps equally through your arms and your legs. To perform this test, your doctor will measure your blood pressure in your ankle as well as in your arm and compare the two numbers.

 

Peripheral "Artery Disease" TREATMENT and surgery.

There is no medication that will dissolve Peripheral "Artery Disease" plaque, so you should work with your doctor to manage your risk factors. If you’re a smoker, stopping smoking is the most important step you can take to help control Peripheral "Artery Disease".

Everyone with Peripheral "Artery Disease" should...

Get the right kind of exercise. Surprising as it might sound, walking is the most beneficial form of exercise for Peripheral Artery Disease sufferers. It won’t get rid of the plaque, but it can improve your stamina and make walking less painful.

 

What to do: Walk on flat ground every day - or try a treadmill if you prefer.

Use your level of leg pain to determine the amount of time you walk. For example, walk until the leg pain reaches a moderate level ... stop walking until the pain is relieved... then resume walking. This approach "trains" the muscle to be more efficient in using its blood supply. Try to work your way up to 50 minutes of walking at least five days a week.

Be sure to consult your doctor before starting a walking program, especially if you have other conditions, such as heart disease, arthritis or spine disease. Supervised exercise, such as that offered at rehab centers, has been shown to be the most effective for Peripheral "Artery Disease" patients -- perhaps because people are more likely to stick to a walking program in these settings.

Monitor other risk factors. It is critically important to pay attention to all your other health-related risk factors. For example, if you have diabetes, monitor and keep glucose levels under control. If you have elevated cholesterol or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about medication.

       Peripheral Artery Disease statin TREATMENT

To reduce the risk for blood clots, which could lead to limb damage,"heart disease",  heart attack or "stroke," your doctor may suggest a daily aspirin (81 mg) or a medication that prevents blood clot such as clopidogrel (Plavix). A statin also may be prescribed. Statins not only lower cholesterol, but also lower levels of the inflammation marker CRP.

In about 30% of Peripheral "Artery Disease" patients, suffers severe pain that affects their quality of life or the amount of blockage significantly restricts "blood flow". In these cases, your doctor may recommend a more invasive measure, such as angioplasty or bypass surgery, to improve blood flow in the affected artery.

With angioplasty, a tiny balloon and, possibly, stents are inserted via a catheter into the artery to widen the artery as much as possible. Bypass surgery involves creating a blood flow "detour" around a blood clot, or blockage, allowing the blood flow to flow more freely.

Important: Treatment for Peripheral "Artery Disease" is highly individualized. If you’ve been diagnosed with the condition, you should see your doctor at least once or twice each year.

For more information on , Peripheral "Artery Disease" contact the Peripheral Artery Disease Coalition at 888-833-4463, www.PadCoalition.org. To find a vascular specialist near you, contact the Vascular Disease Foundation at 888-833-4463, www.vdf.org.

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