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Health

What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

2 Mins read

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a circulatory problem that affects the arteries outside of your heart. PAD can cause pain in your legs when you walk. The pain is called claudication. Claudication happens because not enough blood is flowing to your muscles. This can happen because of a blockage in one of your arteries. PAD is a common problem. It affects about 8 million Americans. PAD is more common in smokers and people who are overweight or obese. People with diabetes are also at risk for PAD. Treatment for PAD includes taking medication to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you exhibit any symptoms associated with PAD, you need to talk to a Coconut Creek peripheral arterial disease for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Causes

There are several risk factors for developing peripheral arterial disease. The leading cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, a build-up of fatty deposits on the inside of the arteries. This can cause the arteries to become narrowed and blocked. Smoking and being overweight or obese are two of the most significant risk factors for atherosclerosis. Diabetes is also a risk factor for PAD. When blood sugar levels are high, it can damage the arteries and lead to atherosclerosis.

Symptoms

The main symptom of peripheral arterial disease is pain in the legs when you walk. The pain is called claudication. Claudication happens because not enough blood is flowing to your muscles. This can happen because of a blockage in one of your arteries. The symptoms of PAD usually get worse over time. You may have pain in your legs even when you are resting. You may also experience cramping, numbness, or swelling in your legs.

In some patients, PAD can lead to serious health problems. If the blockage in the artery is severe, it can cause tissue death in the leg. This is called gangrene. Gangrene can lead to amputation of the limb.

Treatment

There is no cure for peripheral arterial disease, but treatments can help improve symptoms. The primary treatment for PAD is lifestyle changes. This includes quitting smoking, exercising, and eating a healthy diet. You may also need to take medication to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you have PAD symptoms, you should see a doctor right away for diagnosis and treatment.

Prevention

There are several things you can do to prevent peripheral arterial disease. The most important is to quit smoking. Smoking increases the risk of atherosclerosis and other circulatory problems. You can also prevent PAD by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. Being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for PAD, so losing weight can help reduce your risk. Diabetes is also a risk factor for PAD, so keeping blood sugar levels under control can help prevent the disease.

In summary, peripheral arterial disease is a common circulatory problem that can cause pain in the legs. The main risk factors for PAD are smoking, being overweight or obese, and having diabetes. There is no cure for PAD, but there are treatments available that can help improve symptoms. Prevention is vital, so make sure to quit smoking, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet. If you have any PAD symptoms, see a doctor right away for diagnosis and treatment.