A serious condition such as Peripheral Artery Disease called by any other name will still essentially be the same in terms of symptoms and treatments. In the case of Peripheral Artery Disease and Peripheral Vascular Disease, or PAD vs. PVD, here is the fine line: PAD hinders blood flow through the arteries whereas PVD alters blood flow through both the arteries and veins. Not to confuse things, Peripheral Venous Disease (another PVD) is where blood flows poorly through the veins.
For purposes of this blog, Lam Vascular & Associates will be clear in communicating that PAD and PVD are interchangeable and we will use the term Peripheral Artery Disease, rather than Peripheral Vascular Disease, to describe this collection of diseases that disrupts the circulatory system.
Most people don’t even know they have PAD, a slow, sneaky and progressive circulation disorder. PAD primarily targets the legs, but can also damage arteries in the abdomen, ankles, arms, buttocks, feet, hips, kidneys and pelvis.
Heed The Warning Signs
Diabetes is one of the most common risk factors for PAD, especially in patients over age 50. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque (fatty deposits and cholesterol) on the walls of the arteries. Over time, the arteries can become too narrow, making it difficult for blood flow to bring oxygen to the muscles, tissues and organs. Serious blood clots can form when plaque breaks off and enters the bloodstream. Red flag: There is much cause for concern upon hearing the term “blood clot” in reference to your vascular health.
Other tell-tale signs of PAD are leg pain (also known as claudication) in the form of cramping, heaviness, weakness and discomfort that occurs with activities such as walking, climbing stairs or exercising. You may also notice coldness in the lower leg or foot, weak pulse in the same areas, sores that won’t heal and a “shiny” change in the color of your legs.
Leg pain usually goes away with rest. But, it should NOT be ignored and you should call your doctor at Lam Vascular & Associates. Peripheral Artery Disease and Peripheral Vascular Disease can eventually be a debilitating inhibitor of simple everyday activities such as walking your dog or grocery shopping. In its worst case, if not diagnosed or treated, severe PAD can lead to loss (amputation) of a foot or leg and puts you at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
PAD Pain Management
As a first step in managing PAD, Lam Vascular & Associates may prescribe medication and discuss reducing your risk factors, which include:
- Managing glucose levels (usually associated with diabetes)
- Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
- Losing weight
- Eating foods low in saturated fat and sodium
- Stopping smoking
- Reducing heavy alcohol use
In more severe cases, Dr. Lam may recommend peripheral artery bypass surgery or, more commonly, one of these minimally-invasive vascular procedures: angioplasty and stenting; or laser atherectomy. Both are proven to be successful options to help remove plaque from blood vessels and restore blood flow through the arteries.
At Lam Vascular & Associates, our goal with every patient is to alleviate pain. And make you comfortable again in your walking shoes. If you are experiencing leg pain or ANY of the more severe signs or symptoms discussed here, don’t let this stop you from getting the treatment you need. Go to Lam Vascular & Associates.
We specialize in minimally-invasive, same-day vascular surgery. For your convenience, Lam Vascular & Associates has locations in Dallas and Rockwall, Texas. Click here to schedule an initial appointment to get a leg up on your vascular health.
The information contained in this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history and are not guaranteed in any way.