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Tuesday, 14 May 2024 00:00

Causes and Diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, poses significant challenges for foot health, stemming from restricted blood flow to the lower extremities. This condition, often caused by atherosclerosis, involves the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, leading to narrowed or blocked blood vessels. The diminished blood supply to the feet can result in various symptoms, including pain, cramping, numbness, and weakness, particularly during physical activity. Left untreated, PAD can contribute to serious complications such as foot ulcers, infections, and delayed wound healing. Diagnosing PAD typically involves a comprehensive evaluation by a podiatrist. This process includes a thorough medical history review, assessment of risk factors such as smoking and diabetes, and a physical examination focused on evaluating circulation in the legs and feet. Specialized diagnostic tests, such as ankle-brachial index, or ABI measurement, Doppler ultrasound, and angiography, may also be employed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of arterial blockages. If you are experiencing any of the foot symptoms mentioned above, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist who can accurately diagnose and offer relief solutions for PAD.

Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with one of our podiatrists from Princeton Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

Symptoms

Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Claudication (leg pain from walking)
  • Numbness in legs
  • Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
  • Paleness of the skin
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heal
  • Coldness in one leg

It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.

Diagnosis

While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.

Treatment

Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Princeton and West Windsor, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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