Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

What is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) ?

Peripheral artery disease is caused by a thickening of the inside walls of the arteries of your legs. This thickening, called atherosclerosis, narrows the space through which blood can flow, decreasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the legs and feet. It can affect both legs, but most often symptoms begin in one leg.

Atherosclerosis usually occurs when a person has high levels of cholesterol, a fat-like substance, in the blood. Circulating in the blood, cholesterol and fat build up on the walls of the arteries. When the level of cholesterol in the blood is high, there is a greater chance that it will be deposited onto the artery walls.

Plaque formations can grow large enough to significantly reduce the blood’s flow through an artery. When a plaque formation becomes brittle, it may rupture, triggering a blood clot to form. A clot may either further narrow the artery, or completely block it.

What are the Symptoms of PAD ?

  • Intermittent Claudication – Causes discomfort or pain in legs (or buttocks) when you walk or goes away at rest
  • Foot or Toe pain that can disturb sleep.
  • Wounds and Ulcers
  • Gangrene

Common Risk Factors:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes 
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol 
  • Weighing over 30 percent more than your ideal weight
  • Sedentary Lifestyle

Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment:

The treatment of PAD consists of spectrum of interventions, including lifestyle changes, medications, and revascularization. Revasculation restores blood flow to the minimally invasive endovascular procedure or through an incisional or “open” surgical approach.

Peripheral artery disease is usually diagnosed by a physical exam, ultrasound, or CT scan. All are simple non-invasive procedures performed by an interventional radiologist with minimal discomfort.

To learn more about PAD, visit our patient education library and contact South Florida Vascular Associates to schedule an evaluation with a Vascular Interventional Physician in South Florida.