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Peripheral Artery Disease - What Puts You At Risk?

Dr. Tegbir Singh Sidhu 86% (18 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma in Medical Radio Diagnosis (DMRD), MD
Radiologist, Mohali
Peripheral Artery Disease - What Puts You At Risk?

The circulatory system involving blood vessels and valves is quite an intricate networking system. Blood flow is maintained in separate channels controlled by valves. The vessels distant from the heart are known as peripheral arteries (and veins). Due to fatty deposits, the blood vessels narrow, and therefore their blood-carrying capacity reduces. This leads to reduced blood supply to the legs. The blood carries essential nutrients, and when the legs do not receive it, their function is affected. Read on to know more about this condition.

Peripheral artery disease: As noted above, peripheral artery disease or peripheral vascular disease is when the peripheral organs do not receive adequate blood supply. This could be either due to vascular structural abnormalities or more commonly due to atherosclerosis.

Symptoms: PVD or PAD is a chronic disease, and there are no immediate symptoms. The onset happens over a period of time, and symptoms include:

  1. Claudication (pain in the legs when walking)
  2. Leg cramping with muscle pain
  3. Cold extremities
  4. Shiny legs
  5. Reduced pulsation in the lower extremities
  6. Hair loss from the hands and feet
  7. Delayed healing of wounds in the lower extremities
  8. When it gets severe, there could even be pain at rest and it can disrupt sleep.

Risk factors:

  1. People with atherosclerosis
  2. Age over 70 years
  3. Obesity
  4. Male
  5. Smoking
  6. History of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease
  7. Family history

Complications: PAD reduces blood supply to the distant organs. Therefore, the limbs can have ischemia and also undergo death. It is common for sores to not heal due to the poor blood supply. When this condition continues for a prolonged period, then portions of the extremities could become dead due to lack of blood supply. This could also affect the brain and heart, causing stroke and heart attacks.

Treatment: Peripheral artery disease can be treated by the following measures:

  1. Manage symptoms with pain killers
  2. Reduce cholesterol
  3. Reduce blood pressure
  4. Control blood sugar levels
  5. Prevent blood clots
  6. Manage weight (diet and lifestyle changes)
  7. Angioplasty is a process where the blood vessel is kept open to ensure blood flow is adequate. A stent may also be placed in it to prevent it from closing again.
  8. If there is a clot blocking the blood flow in a particular vessel, an agent may be injected which can destroy the clot and open up the artery


  1. Stop smoking
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Eat a healthy diet including fresh fruits and vegetables, reduce cholesterol
  4. Foot care (especially if diabetic) including wearing socks, cutting nails, foot care with a doctor, attending to calluses and bunions.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3342 people found this helpful

Peripheral Arterial Disease - What Is The Aim Of The Treatment?

Dr. Yashpal Singh 87% (36 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, DNB Peripheral Vascular Surgery
Vascular Surgeon, Lucknow
Peripheral Arterial Disease - What Is The Aim Of The Treatment?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) refers to the narrowing of blood vessels that in turn causes poor blood flow to the limbs. This is also known as peripheral vascular disease. The blood vessels of the legs are most susceptible to this condition. PAD is typically caused by a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. This limits the amount of blood that can pass through the arteries. High cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking are all contributors to this condition.

Treatment for the Peripheral arterial disease aims at 

  • Relieving the symptoms of this condition and reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Lifestyle changes are the first aspect of treating this condition. If the patient smokes, it is imperative for them to stop doing so.
  • In addition, the patient must have a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercise regularly. The patient should limit the number of fats and carbohydrates being consumed and increase the number of vegetables and fruits in his or her diet.
  • This can help maintain a healthy body weight. In addition, cholesterol and blood pressure levels should also be maintained at normal levels.
  • Medication may be needed in some cases. Diabetics must also ensure that their blood sugar levels are maintained at healthy levels. In some cases, a cardiac rehabilitation program may be advised. This program educates the patient about the disease and helps them build healthy habits.
  • Lifestyle changes often need to be supplemented with medication. Medication may also be prescribed to lower the risk of a stroke or heart attack. If the patient suffers from high cholesterol levels, he or she may be prescribed medication to help lower the cholesterol levels.
  • Similarly, medication will be prescribed in cases of high blood pressure. Medication may also be prescribed to help prevent blood clots. If the lifestyle changes do not relieve the pain caused by PAD, medication may also be prescribed for the same.

In patients suffering from severe peripheral arterial disease, a bypass surgery or an angioplasty may be required. This surgery aims at opening out the narrowed arteries and rerouting blood around the blockages. In very rare cases of advanced PAD, a lack of blood flow can also cause the death of the tissue in the foot or leg. In such cases, the foot or leg will need to be amputated. This is usually seen only if the patient also suffers from diabetes.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2915 people found this helpful

5 Common Vascular Disorders You Must Know!

Dr. Krishna Chaitanya K H 90% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, MCh - Vascular Surgery
Vascular Surgeon, Bangalore
5 Common Vascular Disorders You Must Know!

Vascular disorders are disorders of the vessels in your body that carry either blood or waste products. The vascular system consists of the arteries (that carry blood away from the heart), veins (that carry blood to the heart) and lymph vessels (that carry waste products to be excreted from the body). The various diseases of the vascular or circulatory system are:

  1. Peripheral Artery Disease: Peripheral arteries carry blood to the various organs and tissues in the body. Accumulation of cholesterol and fat in the vessels narrow the pathway for the blood to flow. This can impair blood flow to the tissues in the body and cause complications. Various medications used to lower cholesterol and blood pressure can also be used for peripheral artery disease.
  2. Buerger's Disease: This disease causes obstructions in the veins and arteries in the legs. This can hamper blood supply in the toes and the feet. It causes pain and may require amputation in severe cases. Treatments for this disease include smoking cessation and medications to dilute blood vessels.
  3. Aneurysm: An aneurysm is swelling in the blood vessel walls; it usually occurs in the aorta. The artery walls become fragile and are placed under a lot of stress; this may lead to a sudden rupture of the aortic vessels. This disorder is usually treated by surgical procedures.
  4. Peripheral Venous Disease: Peripheral venous disease is characterized by damage to the valves that allows blood to flow in a single direction. Damaged valves can cause blood to flow backwards and therefore, accumulate. Treatments for this disorder are incorporating certain lifestyle habits such as quitting smoking and alcohol.
  5. Blood clots in the veins: Blood clots may occur in the veins present inside the muscles of the thighs and lower legs which lead to deep vein thrombosis. You may be prescribed anti-coagulants, also known as blood thinners, to treat this disorder.

People with diseases such diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney failure can be more likely to have vessel problems. Working with vibrating tools, being in cold temperatures, and smoking can worsen vascular problems. Causes of vascular disorders usually fit into one of 5 groups:

  1. Traumatic, which occur after injury
  2. Compressive, which occur when the pipes flatten
  3. Occlusive, which occur when pipes are blocked
  4. Tumors (growths) or malformations (deformed, tangled pipes), which may or may not be present at birth
  5. Vessel spasms, which occur when abnormal control of vessels causes them to narrow

Symptoms of vascular disorders can include:

  1. Pain
  2. Abnormal color changes in the fingertips
  3. Ulcers or wounds that do not heal
  4. Hand problems when in cold temperatures or locations
  5. Numbness or tingling of the fingertips
  6. Swelling
  7. Cool or cold fingers and/or hands

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

1891 people found this helpful

Limping - Can It Be A Sign Of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?

Non Invasive Services
Cardiologist, Mohali
Limping - Can It Be A Sign Of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?

Claudication is commonly known as limping. It is one of the many significant indications of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). It can also happen to patients having vascular problems like aneurysms. Claudication is generally a painful and uneasy sensation in a set of muscles of the limbs, thighs, or backsides. The pain is usually increased by movement and calmed with rest.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is the result of atherosclerosis, the inurement of arteries from the build-up of cholesterol plaques that collect on the internal coating of the arteries. This is common at splitting points of the arteries in the limbs. Obstruction of the arteries from these plaques result in reduced flow of blood to the leg muscles. This could be a problem when moving or working out, the muscles in the limbs need increased blood flow in order to upsurge the oxygen to the blood cells. Atherosclerotic plaques result in reduced blood flow and diminished oxygen. Due to this, the leg muscles often end up aching and burning due to insufficient presence of oxygen. This pain is often felt as cramps to the patient.

Pain in the limbs is the key indicator of claudication. Aching can be shrill or dull, aching or accompanied by soreness or burning. The extent of the Peripheral Artery Disease, the position of the plaque, plus the action of the leg muscles (walking or exercising or resting) control the harshness of symptoms and place of discomfort or agony.

Severe pain in the calf region is the typical place for cramps. This is because atherosclerotic plaques usually start out in the arteries furthest from the cardiac muscle. If the obstruction or formation of plaque is way up the leg, the agony from claudication could be felt in the thigh area. If the issue is in the aorta, symptoms can include pain in the bottoms or groin area.

Treating Claudication includes remedial therapy. These therapy sessions may or may not involve revascularization or angioplasty. Patients with claudication are given medical treatment aimed at reducing the pain. However, reduction of risk issues, physical activity, and using medicines that could improve the possible distance a patient could walk, is the chief aim of treatment.

Debilitating claudication that stops patients from working or living a regular life usually finds a resort in revascularization measures. These procedures comprise of percutaneous angioplasty and a surgical method that circumvents the blockage. Stenting of the congested vessels is also an option. However, now there are plenty of medications that can help in reducing its symptoms and assist the patient in being freely mobile.

Victims of claudication can take care of their pain with prescribed exercises and fitness schemes.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3820 people found this helpful

Peripheral Arterial Disease- A Serious Threat To Life Worth Being Concerned About!

Dr. Ripen Gupta 91% (183 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Medicine, DM - Cardiology, Fellowship In Interventional Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology
Cardiologist, Delhi
Peripheral Arterial Disease- A Serious Threat To Life Worth Being Concerned About!

Peripheral arterial disease or commonly known as PAD is a common cardiovascular disease. Despite having the power to cause painful symptoms and severe health risks, it is overlooked by many. This particular arterial disease may lead to life-threatening consequences if left untreated for long. Read on to know more about the condition.

What is PAD?
PAD refers to the situation where in the peripheral arteries to the arms, head, stomach, and legs become narrow. Often referred to as the peripheral vascular disease, here, the arteries start to grow narrower due to the slow but constant buildup of fatty deposits on the artery walls. Though it can affect all the arteries in a person’s body, except those that supply blood to the heart, in the majority of cases, it affects the arteries in the leg.

What are the threats it poses?
PAD is indeed a life-threatening disease, as the blockages, it creates in the peripheral arteries prevent normal blood circulation to the different organs, legs, and brain. And when the blood flow is restricted, or the vital organs of the body fail to receive necessary blood flow, then the legs, brain and all the vital organs suffer severe damage. And when PAD continues to harm the blood flow for a long time, then it leads to tissue infection or tissue death, which is known as gangrene.

Additional health issues it causes
PAD also creates various other health concerns, such as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of fatty materials’ build up. In the case of atherosclerosis, the entire blood circulatory system gets damaged, including the arteries leading to the heart. The risk of blood clot build ups and vascular inflammation are also common additional threats posed by the fatty deposits.

Probable symptoms
Depending on the part of the body that is affected, the PAD symptoms vary from one to another. However, painful cramping in the muscles of one’s legs is the most common symptom of this condition. The pain, originating in the legs often goes up to the muscles in the thighs or hips too. Except this, weakness or numbness in the legs, ulcers or open sores on the feet or legs, skin color changing into bluish or pale are some of the other symptoms of PAD.

Possible treatments
The peripheral arterial disease can be diagnosed easily, painlessly and straightforwardly under proper medical attention. Both prescribed medications and a lifestyle change are considered to be the best treatment for controlling PAD. Including a healthy diet and adopting a healthy lifestyle have often been successful in preventing PAD in its early stage.

The moment any signs or symptoms of PAD is noticed one should not be late in seeking immediate medical attention.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2048 people found this helpful

Peripheral Artery Disease!

Dr. Paramjeet Singh 93% (1400 ratings)
MBBS, Dip.Cardiology, Fellowship in Clinical Cardiology(FICC), Fellowship in Echocardiology
Cardiologist, Ghaziabad
Peripheral Artery Disease!

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) happens when there is a narrowing of the blood vessels outside of your heart. The cause of PAD is atherosclerosis. This happens when plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs. Plaque is a substance made up of fat and cholesterol. It causes the arteries to narrow or become blocked. This can reduce or stop blood flow, usually to the legs. If severe enough, blocked blood flow can cause tissue death and can sometimes lead to amputation of the foot or leg.

The main risk factor for PAD is smoking. Other risk factors include older age and diseases like diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Many people who have PAD don't have any symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include

  • Pain, numbness, achiness, or heaviness in the leg muscles. This happens when walking or climbing stairs.
  • Weak or absent pulses in the legs or feet
  • Sores or wounds on the toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all
  • A pale or bluish color to the skin
  • A lower temperature in one leg than the other leg
  • Poor nail growth on the toes and decreased hair growth on the legs
  • Erectile dysfunction, especially among men who have diabetes

PAD can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and transient ischemic attack.

Doctors diagnose PAD with a physical exam and heart and imaging tests. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicines, and sometimes surgery. Lifestyle changes include dietary changes, exercise, and efforts to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

1 person found this helpful

Peripheral Artery Disease - How Can It Be Diagnosed & Treated?

Mp Heart Clinic 90% (106 ratings)
Multi Speciality
Cardiologist, Delhi
Peripheral Artery Disease - How Can It Be Diagnosed & Treated?

Peripheral artery disease is a condition brought about by the partial blocking of the main arteries that carry pure blood from the heart to the different parts of the body. When the block occurs or when the flow of blood is restricted, then the functions are directly affected since they may not receive sufficient blood at regular intervals. The most frequently observed form of the peripheral artery disease is the feeling of pain in the legs while walking.

Though it is in the legs that most people seem to find the pain initially, there are other parts of the body like the arms, stomach, head and even the kidneys. As mentioned, the trouble starts when the body is not able to burn enough fat and it deposits itself in the inside walls of the blood vessels leading to these cramp like conditions. These deposits are also known as plaques. Within the medical field, the peripheral artery disease can also be identified or called by other names such as Atherosclerosis or peripheral vascular disease and so on.

Diagnosis of the disease
As with any health condition, the specialist will do a physical examination of the part which you complain is giving you the pain and will ask you a series of questions regarding your personal details, family history and any previous complaints of this sort or of different nature. The best way the doctors would confirm if it is a peripheral artery disease is by a process called ankle-brachial index. This involves finding the differential between the pressure of the blood in your body, in the arms which are closer to the heart, and the legs the farthest. This could reveal to the doctor if the rate of flow of blood to the farthest part like the feet is the same as to the arms. If the doctor finds a substantial difference in the blood circulation, then the doubt increases. The advanced diagnostic tests needed to confirm a case of peripheral artery disease include the Doppler and Ultrasound tests, Angiography and Magnetic resonance Angiography (MRA). These tests will give conclusive evidence to the doctor that it is indeed a case of peripheral artery disease.

Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease
There are different ways in which the peripheral artery disease can be countered. One way is to change the lifestyle and food habits of the affected person. Since it is obvious that the deposition of plaque from the fatty foods consumed by the person is responsible for the condition, merely stopping the consumption of such items can have a salutary effect. Other steps like quit smoking, if you were into this bad habit, exercising regularly and taking suitable medication as prescribed can treat the condition. In severe cases, procedures like Angioplasty might have to be performed. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3722 people found this helpful

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