Peripheral artery disease (PAD), peripheral vascular disease (PVD), or peripheral vascular occlusive disease (PVOD) is a common condition where there is a buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) on the walls of the arteries causing them to narrow. PAD is an abnormal narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the hands and feet. PAD reduces blood supply to the leg muscles. Other arteries such as those of the arms, neck, or kidneys may also be involved. There are several treatment options available for PAD. The choice of treatment depends on the extent of the disease and the overall health of the patient. Treatment options for PAD include
- surgery, and
- lifestyle modifications.
Early diagnosis and management of PAD can help treat symptoms and reduce or prevent serious complications.
What are the causes of peripheral artery disease?
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is caused by atherosclerosis that is a gradual buildup of fat and cholesterol that forms plaques in the walls of the arteries making them narrow. The walls of the arteries also become stiff and cannot dilate easily. This reduces the flow of blood in the peripheral arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart to other parts of the body.
Risk factors for PAD:
PAD is relatively a common disorder, often affecting people older than the age of 65 years. People are at a higher risk if they have the following conditions:
- High cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease involving hemodialysis
- Metabolic syndrome
- Excess levels of C-reactive protein or homocysteine
- Family history
- Unhealthy eating habits, no physical activity, and stress
What are the symptoms of peripheral artery disease?
Most patients do not experience any symptoms. Symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD) include:
- Intermittent claudication—muscle pain or cramping in the calf, thigh, or hip while walking or climbing stairs that goes away with rest
- Pain at rest in the toes or feet in patients with severe PAD
- Tingling or feeling of pins and needles in the lower legs or feet
- Leg weakness or numbness
- Loss of hair on the legs
- Legs that are cooler than the arms or one leg cooler than the other
- Sores or ulcers on the legs or feet that don’t heal or heal slowly
- Brittle toenails
- Slow toenail growth
- Skin on the legs becomes shiny or pale or bluish
- Weak pulse in the leg
- Erectile dysfunction
What are the complications of peripheral artery disease?
The complications of peripheral artery disease (PAD) are as follows:
- Critical limb ischemia: This condition begins as an open sore, ulcer, or infection in the feet or legs that don't heal. It occurs when the blood vessel is narrowed to more than 60%. The resultant ulcer or infection progresses and causes tissue death. Sometimes, amputation of the affected limb may be required.
- Stroke and heart attack: Atherosclerosis that causes PAD also buildup in the arteries supplying blood to the heart and brain. Narrowing in the brain causes cerebrovascular disease and in the heart causes coronary artery disease, leading to stroke and heart attack, respectively.
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Can Peripheral Artery Disease Affect the Heart?Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which extremities (usually the legs) do not receive sufficient blood flow due to the narrowing of or blocks in arteries. Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of more widespread accumulation of fat deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis or plaque).
Carotid Artery Disease
The term carotid artery disease refers to the narrowing of the carotid arteries and can also be called carotid stenosis. Fatty substance buildup and cholesterol deposits, called plaque are the cause of the narrowing arteries. Carotid artery disease can be treated by following recommended lifestyle changes, taking prescription medications, and considering a procedure to improve blood flow, if your doctor believes it could help.
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
grapefruitGrapefruit is the fruit of a species of citrus tree, Citrus paradisi. Grapefruit is used medicinally to prevent plaque formation in the arteries (atherosclerosis), to protect against cancer growth, to promote weight loss, and for various other purposes, although, there is little scientific research to back many of its uses. Common side effects of grapefruit include reduced red blood cell percentage (hematocrit) in the blood and interactions with drugs metabolized by CYP3A4 enzyme. Avoid taking excessive amounts of grapefruit if you are pregnant or if you are a nursing mother.
Heart Disease: Warning Signs of Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
Lower Cholesterol TipsNeed to lower your cholesterol levels? Use these smart diet tips to quickly and easily lower your blood cholesterol levels. Choose heart-healthy foods to lower cholesterol and improve your heart health.
Renal Artery StenosisRenal artery stenosis is a narrowing of the diameter of the renal arteries. When the renal arteries narrow, the result is restricted blood flow to the kidneys, which may lead to impaired kidney function and high blood pressure (referred to as renovascular hypertension (RVHT). Renal artery stenosis can occur in one or both kidneys. The primary cause of renal artery stenosis is atherosclerosis. Symptoms of renal artery stenosis include high blood pressure that does not respond to treatment and severe high blood pressure in individuals younger than 30 or greater than 50 years of age. Renal artery stenosis is diagnosed with imaging and functional tests. Treatment for renal artery stenosis include medication or surgery.
semaglutideSemaglutide is a medication used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus and for chronic weight management, along with physical exercise, dietary restrictions, and lifestyle changes. Semaglutide is used to control blood sugar levels when other commonly prescribed medications do not control the sugar levels adequately in type 2 diabetes, but cannot be used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication of diabetes. Common side effects of semaglutide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, indigestion (dyspepsia), abdominal distension, decrease in appetite, belching (eructation), gas (flatulence), gastritis, gastroenteritis, viral gastroenteritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallstones (cholelithiasis), headache, fatigue, dizziness, low blood glucose level (hypoglycemia), severe hypoglycemia, diabetic retinopathy, and others. Do not take if breastfeeding.
Why Would You Have a Temporal Artery Biopsy?Temporal artery biopsy (TAB) is a procedure that involves removing a piece of the temporal artery for examination under a microscope. The temporal artery is a blood vessel at the temples. This artery is situated close to the skin just before the ears and continues up to the scalp.