Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Sometimes an issue within your body is a precursor to an even more serious medical condition. This can be the case with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Understanding PAD is instrumental for driving positive lifestyle changes that lower the risk of critical medical complications.
An Intro to Peripheral Arterial Disease
PAD is rather common and often results in reduced blood flow to an individual’s limbs as a result of narrowed arteries. This is significant for foot and ankle health, since these body parts are the farthest points from the heart.
In many cases, the disease is present throughout the body, which can mean that widespread atherosclerosis (fatty material buildup in the arteries) narrows blood vessels and increases the risk of serious medical emergencies. The odds of heart attacks and strokes increase due to reduced circulation to vital areas like the heart and head.
Symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease
When we discuss PAD symptoms, it should be noted that many individuals afflicted with this condition exhibit no symptoms. If you do, it is important to seek help quickly. Doing so improves the odds of successful treatment and decreases the risk of a serious medical problem.
Observable symptoms of peripheral arterial disease include:
- Leg pain or cramping from either physical activity (intermittent claudication) or while you are lying down or at rest (ischemic rest pain). Ischemic rest pain can be severe enough to disrupt your sleep.
- Coldness, weakness, or numbness in your foot or lower leg, especially when compared to your other side.
- Sores on your legs, feet, or toes that will not heal or take an abnormally long time to do so.
- Slower hair growth than normal, or even hair loss, on your legs and feet.
- Shiny skin or abnormal coloration on your legs.
It is quite possible to manage this condition and stop its progression through the use of healthy lifestyle changes, including:
- What you eat can contribute to the condition, but it can also be an integral part of fighting back against it. A diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals and low in saturated fat will help keep your cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check.
- Physical activity plays an instrumental role in forcing your muscles to use oxygen in an efficient manner and promoting healthy circulation.
- Quit smoking. Smoking contributes to damaged and constricted arteries, which can worsen the symptoms of PAD. Experts agree that this is the best step for reducing the risk of complications from this disease.
Medication is typically targeted at lowering cholesterol, managing blood sugar, decreasing high blood pressure, and preventing blood clots. There are also medications intended to tackle various symptoms of peripheral arterial disease. Angioplasty is essentially the use of a small balloon to reopen an artery and push the blockage back into the artery wall.
Lifestyle changes can certainly help, especially for mild or early cases of PAD, but there are cases where professional intervention is necessary. When this is the case, medication, angioplasty and surgery all become treatment options.
When it comes to peripheral arterial disease, the best prevention is simply healthy living. This means exercising on a regular basis, keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, and quitting smoking (which is just a fantastic idea in general). Since food can play a role in this condition, avoid meals that have copious amounts of saturated fats. Maintaining a healthy bodyweight goes hand-in-hand with what you eat, but it can also decrease your odds of having to deal with PAD.
Circulatory Issue Care in Manalapan, NJ
When you recognize the symptoms of peripheral arterial disease in your lower limbs, be sure to contact us for professional diagnosis and to receive any necessary treatment. Keep in mind that doing so will lower your risk for suffering from a serious medical condition, like a heart attack or stroke.
You can reach our Manalapan, NJ podiatrist office by calling (732) 446-7136 or simply schedule your appointment here at A Step Up Podiatry, LLC online today.