More than 10 million Americans are living with peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. People of all ages can be affected by PAD, but it’s more common in people who are 65 and older. This circulatory disease narrows arteries, which in turn reduces blood flow to your limbs, and could reduce blood flow to your heart and lungs as well.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms and know when to visit your doctor. In this blog, we’re talking about PAD–from symptoms to treatments–and our new PADnet machine for diagnosis.
Many people have mild symptoms, or may not experience any symptoms at all, and therefore may not even realize that they have PAD. The most common symptom is leg pain while walking, or claudication. Pain or cramping may also occur in the arms, but is most common in the calf. The severity of claudication varies, ranging from slight discomfort to debilitating pain and trouble walking. Other symptoms include:
- Pain in your toes or feet when you’re at rest
- Sores on your legs, feet, or toes that don’t go away
- Shiny skin on your legs
- Numbness or weakness in your legs
- A weak or lack of pulse in your legs or feet
- Color change in your legs
- Coldness in your lower legs or feet
- Slower hair growth or hair loss on your legs or feet
Causes of PAD
Atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty deposits on your artery walls, is often the cause of PAD. Less common causes of PAD include injury to your limbs, abnormal anatomy of muscles or ligaments, blood vessel inflammation, or radiation exposure. There are several risk factors for developing PAD, including:
- Being age 55 or older
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Family history of PAD, heart disease, or stroke
- High homocysteine levels
Those who smoke or have diabetes are at the highest risk for developing PAD because of reduced blood flow.
Diagnosing PAD using PADnet
Our team at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle has added a new diagnostic device called PADnet–a machine that helps to identify PAD. PADnet is a non-invasive system that utilizes blood pressure cuffs at different levels of your extremities and can identify even early PAD. This innovative device also allows for quick and easy communication between medical professionals. PADnet sends test results and other patient information securely and instantly, allowing specialists to review test results right away. If we find that there is any limitation in blood flow, a referral is made to a vascular specialist to continue your treatment. We can provide this test here in our office.
If you’re in a high-risk category or experiencing symptoms of PAD, come visit us at our Decatur, Texas, or Roanoke, Texas office. Samantha Childers, DPM, Ricky Childers, DPM, and the rest of our experienced team at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle are here to help. Diagnosing and managing PAD is important in order to avoid complications caused by untreated PAD, such as heart attack, stroke, or critical limb ischemia. Visit our website or give us a call to make an appointment today. Decatur office: 940-208-0379. Roanoke office: 817-438-4133.