Peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD or peripheral vascular disease, occurs when large arteries outside the brain, heart muscle and aorta develop partial obstructions or complete blockages. These conditions can occur following exposure to a number of health risks, so accurate diagnosis is essential to a complete recovery.
Understanding Obstructions of Arteries
Arteries that supply blood to the extremities can become obstructed through a number of mechanisms. If plaque builds up in an artery, for instance, there’s not as much room for blood to flow through, and further blockages may occur as a result.
In other cases, the valves that control blood flow lose their ability to open following traumas. These obstructions can eventually lead to the development of visually observable side effects such as spider veins and varicose veins. Learn more about these conditions by reading our article here.
PAD Risk Factors
Many of the same risk factors associated with atherosclerosis are also observed in patients who suffer from PAD. These include:
- Tobacco usage
- Diabetes mellitus
- Dyslipidemia or abnormal fat and cholesterol levels in the bloodstream
While some of these factors are hard to correct and patients are genetically predisposed toward others, lifestyle choices like smoking cessation and adopting healthier eating habits are commonly cited as ways to reduce one’s chances of developing PAD.
What Does PAD Do?
In addition to causing cosmetic diseases and uncomfortable leg pressure conditions, narrowed arteries don’t perform their intended functions at optimal efficiency. Muscle tissue may not receive sufficient amounts of blood,, increasing the rate at which patients become fatigued or making it more difficult for the immune system to fight off infections and pathogens.
Affected muscle groups can even develop lingering sores, external wounds and ulcers, and some patients experience cramping or numbness. Fortunately, PAD sufferers can take advantage of a number of medical treatment options to supplement the lifestyle modifications they undertake.
If you suspect you are suffering from PAD, make an appointment with Dr. Robert Ruess of Five Star Vein Institute. Dr. Ruess is a leading vein specialist and he can address any vein issues you may have.