Capital Cardiology Consultants, P.C.
1160 Varnum Street NE
Washington, DC 20017
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease (PAD), occurs when your extremities (often your legs) don’t receive enough blood flow. This causes symptoms such as leg pain when walking (intermittent claudication). PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. PAD is also likely a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to your heart and brain, as well as your legs.
- Pain and cramping of your hip, thigh or calf muscles after activity, such as walking or climbing stairs (intermittent claudication)
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Cold feeling in your lower leg or foot, may be worse on one side
- Non-healing sores on your toes, feet or legs
- Change in the color of your legs
- Hair loss or decreased hair growth on your feet and legs
- Slower growth of your toenails
- Shiny skin on your legs
- Erectile dysfunction in men
If PAD is severe, pain can occur at rest or when you’re lying down. This is also called ischemic rest pain. It may be severe enough to disrupt sleep. Hanging your legs over the edge of your bed or walking around your room may temporarily relieve the pain.
Prevention and Treatment Of PAD
Treatment for PAD focuses on reducing symptoms and preventing further progression of the disease. In most cases, lifestyle changes, exercise and claudication medications are enough to slow the progression or even reverse the symptoms of PAD.
Physical Activity. The most effective treatment for PAD is regular physical activity. Your doctor may recommend a program of supervised exercise training for you.
Diet. Many PAD patients have elevated cholesterol levels. A diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol can help lower blood cholesterol levels, but cholesterol-lowering medication may be necessary to maintain the proper cholesterol levels.
Smoking Cessation. Tobacco smoke greatly increases your risk for PAD and your risk for heart attack and stroke. Stop smoking. It will help to slow the progression of PAD and other heart-related diseases.
Medication. You may be prescribed high blood pressure medications and/or cholesterol-lowering medications.
Procedures. Minimally invasive procedures consist of angioplasty or stent placement, as is done in the heart for coronary artery disease (CAD, or clot-removal treatment. They are non-surgical and are performed by making a small incision through which a catheter is inserted to reach the blocked artery. A tiny balloon is inflated inside the artery to open the clog. A stent — a tiny wire mesh cylinder — may also be implanted at this time to help hold the artery open. Sometimes a medicine can be given through the catheter or a special device can be inserted through it to remove a clot that’s blocking the artery.
If there’s a long portion of artery in your leg that’s completely blocked and you’re having severe symptoms, surgery may be necessary. A vein from another part of the body can be used to “bypass” and reroute blood around the closed artery.
Your healthcare professional will discuss your options and help choose the best procedure for your situation.