Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a circulatory problem caused by the narrowing of arteries, due to plaque build-up. While the name sounds scary, this is actually a common issue, more common the older you get, and is actually quite easy to diagnose. To diagnose properly though, it is important that you understand more about this disease. This article will go through symptoms, reasons you may be more at risk than others, plus ways to treat this disease, and even possible avoid it altogether.
First, there are some things that can put you more at risk than others. Reasons to get checked out, without any sign of physical symptoms are:
- Family history of PAD, heart attacks, or stroke
- Personal history of high blood pressure or heart disease
- Have diabetes
- If you have smoked in the past, or you smoke now
- If you do not lead a very active lifestyle
- Have high cholesterol
There are some physical symptoms that you should be aware of as well, such as:
- Pain in the legs and/or feet, bad enough at times that it wakes you at night
- Soreness and cramping in your legs/feet when walking or any type of exercise
Since peripheral artery disease commonly gets misdiagnosed as something else, it is important to be aware of the above symptoms so you can tell your doctor about them.
Left untreated, PAD can lead to a number of unfortunate outcomes. Since PAD is caused by the narrowing of your arteries due to plaque build-up, this means that less blood is flowing to your extremities, most commonly your legs and feet. As your arteries continue to narrow, your limbs are not getting the blood flow they need in order to function and be healthy. As time progresses, many patients will need to have these limbs amputated, as they are no longer a living part of your body.
There are ways to treat PAD, as well as avoid it altogether. Once diagnosed, your doctor will typically put you on a proper diet, as well as an exercise routine, in order to stop the progression of this disease. Also, if you are a smoker, you will need to quit immediately to avoid further complications of this disease. There are non-evasive methods as well to open up your arteries to allow for more blood flow to your limbs.
If you are aware that you have vascular disease in your family, it is in your best interest to eat healthy and be fully active as early as possible. Also, if you have any of the physical symptoms, be looked at by a doctor as soon as possible, as early detection is very important.
There are so many good reasons to start a healthy, active lifestyle as early as you can! Taking care of yourself, knowing your medical history, and telling your doctor specific symptoms if they come up can all help stop the progression of a disease that can take away from a happy, healthy life!