What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?
Peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) is a serious condition that affects your arteries and blood flow. It develops when plaque, made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances, builds up in your arteries. Over time this causes arteries to narrow thereby limiting the flow of blood to vital parts of your body.
P.A.D. typically affects the arteries in your legs but can also affect blood flow to your kidneys, stomach, arms and head. Elderly people often attribute foot and leg pain to aging but symptoms could be due to P.A.D. so it is essential to see Dr. Harvey Danciger for proper diagnosis.
Above: Lilly and Rebecca use the PADnet machine to determine whether or not a patient has Peripheral Arterial Disease.
Are You at Risk For P.A.D.?
There are several risk factors involved with this condition. Smoking is a high factor increasing the risk by four times if you regularly use tobacco. Others include:
- High cholesterol and blood pressure
- Family history of the condition
What Are the Symptoms and Complications of P.A.D.?
The lack of blood flow and loss of circulation can cause numbness and pain in lower legs and feet. Walking, climbing stairs, standing at work and exercise can be quite painful for some. Be alert for weakness, muscle pain and cramping, coldness in feet and lower legs, change of color, shiny skin and sores that will not heal.
Diminished circulation due to P.A.D. increases your risk for infections and wounds, as your body can’t ward off infections as effectively. In severe situations, tissues can die due to lack of blood flow, which is called gangrene. In addition, if having P.A.D. isn’t enough, the condition also leaves you susceptible to other serious conditions such as stroke, heart attack and coronary heart disease.
Are There Treatment Options Available?
For anyone living with P.A.D. managing the pain associated with the condition and stopping its progression are the two main reasons for treatment. At his Palm Desert, CA office, Dr. Danciger will be able to properly diagnose your symptoms as P.A.D. and then determine the best course of treatment.
Certain medications that regulate blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol levels can be effective in taming symptoms. Eating healthy, exercising and avoiding tobacco are an important part of the treatment process. Some cold medicines can also increase symptoms if you have P.A.D.
Dr. Danciger has all his patients with P.A.D. take diligent care of their feet, especially if diabetes is involved. The lack of blood circulation compromises the healing process and small injuries can become severe situations. If you have bunions, calluses, corns or fungal infections along with P.A.D. it is important to have a foot specialist such as Dr. Danciger properly care for them to avoid complications and further injury to feet.
Dr. Danciger is available to talk to about any symptoms you may be having or to start a treatment plan. If you want to know more about peripheral arterial disease or need to schedule an appointment at our podiatric office, please call (760) 568-0108.