If the arteries that supply blood to your legs become narrowed or blocked, you have peripheral arterial disease (PAD). One of the leading causes of this condition is atherosclerosis or the accumulation of fatty plaque in the arteries. Progression of atherosclerotic disease (PAD) is more common in the legs than the arms, but it can occur everywhere.
What are the symptoms of peripheral artery disease?
A large population of people with PAD experiences no discomfort whatsoever. However, some people have a sharp pain in their legs whenever they walk; this discomfort typically subsides after a short break. Intermittent claudication is the medical word for this condition.
Leg cramps can range from mildly annoying to severely debilitating, but most people find that resting their legs helps alleviate the pain.
It's common for both legs to hurt at once; however, it could be severe in just one. In addition to these, PAD may also cause these symptoms:
- The thinning of hair on one's lower extremities
- Leg tingling, numbness, or weakness
- Ulcers (open sores) on your feet and legs that don't heal brittle, slow-growing toenails
- Legs changing color, especially men's, who sometimes develop blue or white shiny skin
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Muscles’ shrinking in your legs
Many people experience the gradual onset of PAD symptoms as time passes. Rapid onset or worsening of symptoms may indicate an emergency that needs fast attention.
Risk factors for peripheral artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Causes of High Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis: Diabetes
- Over the age of 60
PAD affects both sexes equally but is more common among African Americans. Hispanics may have PAD rates that are comparable to or even somewhat greater than those of non-Hispanic whites. About 6.5 million Americans aged 40 and up suffer from PAD.
While atherosclerosis is the most common cause of PAD, it is not the only cause, and various diseases and arterial problems can cause its symptoms.
You are more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke if you have PAD since it increases your chance of developing coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease.
Peripheral Artery Disease Causes
Because of its effect on the cardiovascular system, PAD is classified as a type of CVD (cardiovascular disease).
Fatty deposits in the artery walls of the legs are a common cause of this condition. Cholesterol and other toxins make up the atheroma or fatty deposits. Clogging the arteries with fat deposits reduces blood flow to the legs. Atherosclerosis is the term for what's happening here.
Other risk factors for peripheral arterial disease and other cardiovascular diseases include:
- The biggest potential danger comes from smoking cigarettes.
- Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
- Increasing age-related hypertension and cholesterol levels
How can I prevent PAD?
- Plenty of exercises are mandatory if you want to avoid or lessen the effects of PAD.
- Don't light up. In addition to raising the chance of developing PAD, smoking also worsens existing symptoms.
- Keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes under control.
Supervised exercise training programs can improve and extend people with PAD's ability to walk long distances for longer periods.