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Peripheral Arterial Disease

middle-aged couple smiling p>Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) affects 8 million Americans and can have serious consequences if not treated. The staff at Trident Health believes in the importance of screening for PAD and immediate treatment for those diagnosed.

PAD is caused by deposits of fatty material in the lining of artery walls in the arms, legs and feet. Those fatty deposits, called “plaque,” reduce blood flow. Over time, as PAD worsens, you may be unable to walk, and, if left untreated, could lead to amputation. PAD also puts you at a greater risk for a heart attack.

Based on the severity of your condition, we will recommend treatments ranging from simple lifestyle changes to surgery. Our physicians and specialists study each case carefully to ensure you receive the best treatment so you can continue your daily activities.

Am I at Risk for PAD?

A non-invasive test, known as the ankle-brachial index, can accurately detect PAD in most cases. Most often at risk for PAD are individuals over 50 years old with one of the following risk factors:

  • Personal history of heart disease
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Leg pain
  • Fatigue during walking
  • Family history of PAD, stroke or heart disease

Signs & Symptoms of PAD

  • Claudication – pain, fatigue, aching, tightness, weakness, cramping or tingling in the leg(s) brought on by exercise that goes away when resting
  • Numbness and pain of the legs or feet at rest
  • Cold hands, feet or legs
  • Loss of hair on the legs and/or feet
  • Paleness or blueness of the legs
  • Weak or absent pulse in the leg
  • Sores, ulcers or infection of the legs and feet that heal slowly
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Swelling in lower extremities
  • Decreasing size and strength of muscles

Treatment Options for PAD

Many treatment options for PAD are available. Some include using medications to thin the blood, using balloon angioplasty to compress the plaque in the artery or implanting a stent to keep the artery open for increased blood flow. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to open narrowed arteries by using a bypass to detour blood around the blocked artery or remove plaque from the affected artery.