Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
When the peripheral arteries – the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lower limbs – begin to get clogged up and blow flood is restricted, it is called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. This is one of the most common vascular conditions among older adults.
PAD most commonly affects the legs. Its tell-tale symptom is leg pain or cramps with physical activity, which is relieved with rest but returns after activity resumes. Both legs are typically affected, although symptoms may feel worse in one leg.
PAD usually occurs due to atherosclerosis – the same process behind heart disease – in which fatty material called plaque builds up and hardens on the inside walls of arteries, obstructing blood flow.
- When a blockage occurs in the arteries in your heart or those that lead to your brain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
- When blood flow to your limbs is impacted, you may experience common PAD symptoms. In severe cases, PAD can lead to nonhealing ulcers in the legs, gangrene, and the risk of amputation.
Those with peripheral arterial disease have an increased likelihood of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Symptoms of PAD
At its earliest stages, there are no noticeable symptoms associated with PAD. When symptoms do begin to appear, the condition is sometimes mistaken for something else, such as peripheral neuropathy (in which leg or foot pain occurs due to nerve damage). In many cases, people with PAD go undiagnosed.
Risk Factors & Complications
The following factors increase your risk of developing peripheral arterial disease:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Diet high in saturated fats
In addition to the risk factors mentioned above, researchers have also found that African Americans are at a higher risk for peripheral arterial disease. Studies supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have revealed that nearly one-third of African Americans will be diagnosed with PAD.
If you have PAD, you are at risk of also developing coronary artery disease – which also increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI)
A serious complication of PAD is critical limb ischemia, or CLI. It occurs when the blood flow restriction to the legs is severe enough to cause debilitating pain and nonhealing ulcers in the leg – and may escalate to infection, tissue death (gangrene), and the need for amputation (limb loss) to prevent the spread of infection.
PAD Treatment Options
The good news is that PAD can be treated! So, too, can its most severe complication: critical limb ischemia. In the latter case, there are limb salvage procedures that may help you avoid amputation and save the affected leg.
The vascular experts at Florida Endovascular and Interventional offer a variety of treatments, depending on the severity of your condition, symptoms, and the impact it is having on your life. Your treatment options may include exercise, medication, and/or an outpatient interventional procedure that can help improve blood flow to the legs.
Examples of the types of procedures we perform for PAD arterial blockage include:
PAD Treatment in Miami Lakes, Plantation, Coconut Creek & Aventura, FL
Do you experience leg pain while walking or exercising? Does it go away when you rest, but come right back again with movement? You may have peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This common vascular condition may put you at risk of more debilitating symptoms and other life-threatening conditions.
Contact the vascular specialists at Florida Endovascular and Interventional to find out if it’s PAD and what your treatment options are. Call us at (786) 534-2555 or simply request an appointment now. We look forward to seeing you at one of our four convenient South Florida locations in Miami Lakes, Plantation, Coconut Creek, or Aventura.