Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), is a condition that leads to the narrowing and potentially blockage of the arteries outside of your heart and brain. This can lead to reduced blood flow to your limbs (particularly your legs). PAD can cause a number of issues potentially leading to loss of a limb, in the most advanced cases, if not treated properly. Below are some causes of PAD and what to watch for if you are affected.
The leading cause of Peripheral Artery Disease is atherosclerosis. This is process by which plaque builds up in your arteries leading narrowing and ultimately blockage. This can cause significant pain as your limbs either with activity or at rest. These plaques or blockages are of a mix of calcium and cholesterol. Atherosclerosis develops over time and has several contributing factors including: obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, renal failure and genetics.
Obesity is a common contributing factor to PAD. Many patients diagnosed with PAD are overweight according to the BMI index. A diet high in saturated fats as well as a lack of regular cardiovascular activity can lead to obesity and buildup of plaque in your arteries. A healthy diet, without excess calories, and regular cardiovascular activity is the key to a healthy heart and good circulation.
Smoking damages the lining of your arteries (endothelium) and accelerates the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Smokers are far more likely to have PAD and tend to have more severe PAD than nonsmokers.
Diabetes causes damage to the lining of your arteries (endothelium) and accelerates the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Diabetic patients are particular prone to having blockages of smaller arteries (called tibial arteries in the legs) putting them at higher risk of amputation.
Genetics can play a role in developing peripheral arterial disease. Below are some of the factors to consider.
Once you reach your late 50s and enter your 60s, you are at a higher risk for developing PAD. PAD can occur sooner in patients with certain medical conditions and poor lifestyles. Even if you have taken good care of yourself over the years, you can develop PAD as you get older.
Several studies have indicated that people of African American and Hispanic decent have a higher incidence of PAD.
Diagnosed Medical Conditions
There are a few medical conditions that are risk factors for developing PAD. Leading a healthy lifestyle (good diet and exercise) along with working with your physician to manage these conditions can reduce your risk of developing PAD after your diagnosis.
- Kidney Disease
- High Cholesterol
Could Peripheral Artery Disease Be Impacting You?
If you have pain or fatigue in your legs with activity that resolves with rest, pain in your legs at rest, or nonhealing wounds in your legs you may be suffering from peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
At Beach Wellness MD, we invite patients to schedule an appointment and discuss treatments so that you have the best care and continue to live your best life. For more information, we can be reached by phone at (310) 955-4708, or you can leave an inquiry here and let one of our representatives contact you. We look forward to seeing you soon.