PAD is short for Peripheral artery disease. It is a type of vascular disease that affects the walls of the arteries. The arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood to body parts. A buildup of plaque may form inside the arteries and narrow the artery’s opening. When this happens, it causes a reduced flow of blood.
Facts about PAD
- PAD is a progressive disease that creates a painful blockage in the lower extremities’ arteries (arterial disease). Most people with PAD have symptoms, but many do not realize that they have this serious condition.
- PAD can be asymptomatic, meaning there are no symptoms. Nonetheless, it is still dangerous. If you do not have symptoms yet, tell your doctor about your risk and get checked for PAD. Experts mention PAD diagnosis is the best way to determine whether you have Peripheral artery disease.
- The most important factor to remember when it comes to PAD is to trust your instincts. If your mind is full of questions about the safety of performing a certain activity, stop and do not proceed until you know that you are OK to continue.
Which Body Regions Are Most Affected by PAD?
In Peripheral Arterial Disease, arteries surrounding the legs, arms, and pelvis are most affected. The major symptom of PAD is a painful burning sensation and cramps in the legs below the knee, usually while walking or exercising.
Chronic limb pain is also common with PAD and can be experienced in both legs simultaneously or in a typical “hot-leg” pattern in which one leg is affected more severely than the other. Night cramps are also common.
Who Has the Higher Risk of PAD?
PAD is most commonly seen in individuals over the age of 50. However, it can occur much earlier, even in younger individuals who have pre-existing risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Other common risk factors include high blood pressure and high triglycerides.
PAD can affect any adult; however, it is most common among people older than 60. In addition, women are more likely to develop PAD than men.
Why Is Peripheral Artery Disease Diagnosis Important?
PAD, or peripheral artery disease, is a hardening of the arteries that bring blood to the limbs, specifically the arteries in the legs and feet. PAD can make it difficult for a person to walk, resulting in claudication, which is a pain that occurs with exercise and improves after rest.
PAD can lead to blood vessel death (gangrene) and amputation of the toes, feet, or legs if left untreated. In addition, PAD can be fatal if it leads to a heart attack or stroke caused by a block of blood flow to the brain.
PAD is often initially misdiagnosed as another disease, and many people do not seek treatment soon enough. The symptoms are usually experienced when walking or exercising, although they may appear while at rest. The pain is generally mild at the beginning and gradually increases to a level that interferes with daily function.
What Are Different Diagnosis Methods for PAD?
Doctors order medical tests to diagnoseperipheral artery disease. Here is vital information about PAD diagnosis methods.
It is the most common diagnostic method recommended for the diagnosis of PAD. Ankle Brachial Index is non-invasive and quick, which is one of the reasons for its higher recommendation. In the Ankle Brachial Index, the blood pressure at your ankle and your arm are measured and compared. If the test results show low numbers, it could indicate blockage or narrowing of the leg arteries.
You can take the Ankle-Brachial Index test before and after walking on the treadmill. An Ankle-Brachial Index test performed during exercise can help the doctor assess the severity of the blockages or narrowing of the arteries during walking. The test is generally recommended when you have pain in your legs.
No special preparations are required for Ankle Brachial Index. You can wear loose clothing while going for the test. Loose clothing allows the technician to easily place a blood pressure cuff on your upper arm and ankle. You may experience some discomfort during the test. The Ankle-Brachial Index test is completed within a few minutes, and you can resume your normal duties immediately after the test.
An Angiogram is a scan that uses X-Ray. It shows blood flow through your arteries and veins, and heart. Today, angiograms can also be done with magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and computed tomography angiography (CTA). In Angiogram, the technician gives the patient an injection of contrast dye (iodine dye).
The blood vessels appear on the screen as the contrast dye flows through them, which lights up the scan. The contrast dye lights up the scan wherever it flows. An angiogram is a complex procedure, and the patient is sedated during Angiogram. Depending on the complexity of the test, it may take a few minutes to a few hours to complete the test.
Now that you have enough knowledge about peripheral artery disease, you can confidently talk to the doctor about the diagnosis of PAD and treatment options.