Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is a common but serious vascular disease affecting 6.5 million Americans aged 40 and older. Many adults don’t realize they have it, and so it can progress without any treatment. We will discuss the symptoms of PAD and the dangers of leaving peripheral artery disease untreated.
What Is Peripheral Artery Disease?
PAD is a vascular disease which occurs from the buildup of plaque or fatty deposits on our artery walls. This limits the supply of oxygen-rich blood from your heart especially to the legs. These deposits cause a narrowing and hardening of our artery walls known as atherosclerosis.
When this happens, blood cannot circulate normally and with time and severe cases, it can lead to stroke, heart attack, or leg amputation.
Warning Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease
As we get older, many adults overlook their tired and achy legs. As this is one of the first symptoms of PAD, we should all pay attention.
One of the very first signs of PAD is something known as intermittent claudication. A patient’s legs feel weak and heavy with muscle pains when doing certain physical activities, even walking. The feelings of pain and weakness stop soon after resting. This happens because your leg muscles are not getting enough oxygen.
Contact a vascular expert like Advanced Vascular Associates if you are experiencing this symptom or any of the other signs.
Other symptoms of peripheral artery disease include the following:
- Discolored skin
- Loss of leg hair
- Shiny skin on legs
- Slow toenail growth
- Cold and numb toes
- Non-healing wounds and sores on feet and ankles
- Achy tired legs
PAD will cause pain, cramping, and limit your mobility. Severe cases can lead to tissues dying and gangrene.
Consider Your Risk Factors For Developing PAD
If you are having any of the very early signs of peripheral artery disease, note the risk factors and determine if you’re at risk.
Risk factors include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. If you have a family history of PAD, chronic kidney disease, are obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are more at risk to develop PAD.
Evaluate your own risk factors and contact Advanced Vascular Associates at (973) 540-9700 for tests, a diagnosis, and treatment options in our Morristown, Bridgewater, Jefferson and Pompton Plains, NJ offices.