It’s true that home is where the heart is — and if your heart is healthy, you could be at home nearly anywhere, doing what you love. Your heart is an awesome, electric force that keeps you strong and alert, and protecting your heart is the best way to maximize your life wherever you make your home.
A common cardiac condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD) has the power to interfere with your life, but paying attention to your body and giving yourself the proper care can help you stay ahead of anything before it gets worse.
Our team at Premier Vein & Vascular can help keep your heart’s health front and center. Here, we offer a guide to help you recognize PAD by its common symptoms.
What is PAD?
If you’ve never heard of peripheral artery disease, that could be a good thing — it may mean that no one in your immediate family has suffered from this condition. PAD refers to the narrowing of arteries that carry blood outside your chest and abdomen. Narrower blood vessels carry less blood to your body, and this imbalance manifests symptoms in your legs and arms.
A diet rich in fatty, sodium-filled foods, along with genetic factors, can lead to a build-up of plaque, a sticky substance that’s strong enough to block arteries, gradually reducing the efficient flow of blood. When this happens, it’s called atherosclerosis, which is tied to:
- Heart attack
- Blood clots
- Chronic kidney diseases
- Carotid artery disease
- Peripheral artery disease
Atherosclerosis is a threat to your health, and like any condition, a lack of treatment inevitably exacerbates it. Symptoms typically reveal themselves when your blockage is at about 70%. Once those arteries have been blocked, you feel the effects of PAD.
What are the signs of PAD?
The signs of PAD don’t begin as soon as the condition itself begins, but the symptoms are fairly consistent and easy to recognize:
- Leg cramping that gets worse during activity
- Tiredness, weakness, numbness, or heaviness in your legs
- Slow-healing wounds on your lower extremities
- Lower body temperature in your limbs, hands, or feet
- Restricted hair and nail growth on your legs and toes
- Dead tissue, called gangrene
Frequent infections of your feet could also be a sign of PAD. If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t wait to talk to your doctor about them. It might surprise you how easy it may be to treat your PAD.
How can you help me if I have PAD?
Our providers at Premier Vein & Vascular are specially equipped to help you with your PAD and its symptoms. First, you undergo gentle, noninvasive testing in our office to confirm that your issue is PAD.
If you’re diagnosed with PAD, the first thing that your provider will suggest is taking steps to improve your eating and exercise habits. If you smoke, your provider can connect you with resources to help you kick the habit.
While diet, exercise, and smoking cessation are typically the only treatment needed for PAD, plenty of individuals have other chronic conditions that prevent this conservative course of treatment from working effectively. If your PAD doesn’t respond to diet and exercise, minimally invasive procedures can help improve blood flow.
What if I’m at risk for PAD?
We’re happy to help you. Before we recommend any treatment, we do a full evaluation. If you know that a family member was also living with PAD, make sure to share this with your provider during your consultation. Also be sure to mention all medication and supplements you’re taking.
PAD doesn’t have to cause any more harm than it already has, and our providers are ready to work with you to protect your longevity. Call the Premier Vein & Vascular location closest to you, in Largo or Tampa, Florida, or book an appointment with us online.