For those suffering from Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), blood flow to the legs becomes difficult because large and medium-sized arteries become narrowed or clogged with plaque. Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is atherosclerosis (sometimes called hardening of the arteries) that affects the arteries in the limbs. When atherosclerosis is present in the peripheral arteries, it may spread to other body parts.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD), which cuts off blood flow to the legs and feet (gangrene), can cause pain in the feet and legs and eventually cause tissue death. Both smoking and diabetes slow blood flow, making people more likely to get peripheral artery disease—if that sounds like you, getting checked for peripheral artery disease is a good idea.
Do you feel pain in your calves while walking, which goes away when you stop? Peripheral artery disease may be present if the answer is yes (PAD). Up to 10 million Americans suffer from this circulatory disorder. Claudication is the medical term for pain or discomfort in the calf muscles while walking, which is a sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
In most cases, a good 10 minutes of rest will alleviate the pain in the leg. Claudication happens when there isn't enough blood and oxygen getting to the muscles. This is usually caused by cholesterol building up in the walls of the arteries. The carotid artery in the neck or the kidney artery may get clogged, resulting in decreased blood flow.
PAD is more likely to happen to people who smoke cigarettes, have diabetes, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol, or have never been physically active. Both men and women have an equal chance of developing PAD.
A blocked carotid artery, which increases the risk of stroke, is prevalent in persons with PAD. All people with PAD must be checked for coronary and carotid artery disease. The good news is that most patients with PAD will not need amputation if they receive effective treatment.
Leading Causes of Peripheral Artery Disease
Atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in your arteries, is a leading cause of peripheral arterial disease; however, there are other causes. Men and women are more likely to experience PAD as they age.
You can lower your chance of getting peripheral artery disease by treating and managing any health problems you already have, especially diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Quitting smoking is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing PAD or any vascular disease.
Adults with peripheral artery disease are more likely to get heart disease and a stroke. That's why having an easy, non-invasive test for PAD is crucial.
PAD Test Details
The peripheral artery disease test is easy, quick, and doesn't hurt. All you have to do is take off your socks and shoes. The upper arms and ankles are cuffed with blood pressure monitors. A small ultrasound device will then measure the systolic blood pressure in your limbs. The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is found by comparing the blood pressures in the upper and lower parts of a person's body.
Technicians can use the ankle-brachial index to determine if a patient is at risk for peripheral arterial disease and if they need more care. You will get a letter with the results of your PAD screening, which was looked at by a board-certified doctor. Between 1.0 and 1.3 for ABI is considered average.
You will be advised to follow up with your doctor if your findings fall within the abnormal range (which could be either higher or lower than usual). You should always inform your physician of the result of any screenings you've taken, no matter what they show.
Who Should Get a PAD Test?
Anyone at risk of getting peripheral artery disease should get tested for it. Adults with cardiovascular disease risk factors are also at a higher risk of developing peripheral artery disease. Screening for peripheral artery disease should also be performed on those who have pain or numbness in their legs and feet while walking, shiny skin on the feet, or sores that won't heal.
9 out of 10 cardiovascular experts recommend preventive health screenings for cardiovascular disease among persons with key risk factors because they believe in the accuracy of these tests.