PAD, or peripheral arterial disease, is a clogged artery in the leg that indicates widespread cardiovascular illness and is often a warning sign for stroke or heart attack. Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and a family history of heart disease are all risk factors for PAD. The greater the number of risk variables you have, the greater your risk. People with PAD are two to four times more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD), and their risk of heart attack increases by 20 to 60 percent.
When walking or doing out, PAD might cause leg muscular stiffness, weariness, or soreness in the buttocks, thighs, or calf muscles. However, in half of the confirmed cases of the condition, no symptoms are reported or detected at all, or the disease is misdiagnosed as leg strain, arthritis, or other factors. However, the longer PAD is left untreated, the more serious it will get, eventually necessitating amputation.
The key to preventing PAD from progressing to that point is early detection and treatment. An ankle-brachial index is commonly used to diagnose PAD. Blood pressure readings in the arm and then the ankle are taken during the exam. The two figures are compared: the ankle figure should be the same as or slightly higher than the arm figure. An ankle-brachial index score of 1 or 1.1 is considered good. 95, you have enough constriction in your leg’s blood arteries to warrant further testing, which could include anything from a leg ultrasound to an MRI or CT scan.
Walking is considered the primary and best line of treatment for early PAD. If the PAD has progressed or the patient refuses to follow the walking order, surgery, usually an angioplasty treatment of the leg, will be required. Angioplasty below the knee is not thought to be as effective or long-lasting as angioplasty above the knee. Another surgical option is a bypass, which may be considered if the symptoms are severe enough or if the leg is in danger of being completely lost. A blood thinner will most likely be recommended, although the procedures and medications are only part of the long-term therapy plan. The goal to treating PAD is to identify and eliminate as many risk factors as possible.
The key to treating PAD is also knowledge. Dr. Alan T. Hirsch, M.D., Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University Of Minnesota School Of Public Health in Minneapolis, found that only 26% of 2500 Americans aged 50 and over knew what PAD was or that it was linked to heart disease and/or stroke in a study published in Circulation. Only 14 percent of those polled were aware that it could lead to amputation.