When fatty deposits build up in the arteries located outside the heart and brain, it’s known as peripheral artery disease and is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. If you have symptoms that suggest peripheral artery disease or are in a high-risk group, contact cardiovascular specialist Alex Alperovich, MD, FACC, FSCAI, and the team at Advanced Cardiovascular & Vein Center in Jackson, Tennessee, who can help evaluate your arteries, diagnose disease, and provide optimal treatment. Call the office at (731) 215-1281 or schedule an appointment online today to meet with Dr. Alperovich.
Peripheral Artery Disease and Treatment Q & A
What is peripheral artery disease?
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is diagnosed when the arteries that deliver blood to your limbs become narrowed or blocked. Your lower body, particularly your legs, are unable to keep up with the demands of exercise or regular movement.
In many cases, peripheral artery disease is a sign of a systemic problem in many arteries, including ones that supply your heart and brain.
What are the symptoms of peripheral artery disease?
Some people experience no symptoms with peripheral artery disease, or have leg pain, especially when walking. Other symptoms of PAD can include:
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Cramping in your hips, thighs, or calves, especially after climbing stairs or walking
- Slow growth of hair on your lower legs or toenails
- Sores on your feet that won’t heal
- Coldness in your toes or feet
- Weak or no pulse in your legs and feet
- Shiny skin on your legs and swelling
As the disease progresses, you may have pain when you’re resting and not exercising.
How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?
Dr. Alperovich begins diagnosis with a physical examination and analysis of your symptoms. He may also perform an ankle-brachial pressure index, which compares the blood pressure in your feet to that in your arms. This tells him how well your blood is flowing.
Other tests that help diagnose peripheral artery disease include ultrasound scanning and angiography in the legs.
How is peripheral artery disease treated?
When treating peripheral artery disease, Dr. Alperovich wants to both help ease your symptoms so you can happily participate in activities and stop the progression of your artery disease so you don’t experience a heart attack or stroke.
Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, improving your diet, and becoming more active can help. Getting to a healthy weight is another step in reducing symptoms of peripheral artery disease.
Medications to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure also offer a possible solution. Additionally, you may benefit from blood-thinning medications to prevent blood clots and medications that reduce pain when walking or going upstairs.
If you’re suffering from severe pain in your legs that interferes with function, you may be a candidate for bypass graft surgery or an angioplasty. These strategies won’t cure peripheral artery disease, but they can help improve blood circulation to your legs.
For more information about diagnosis and treatment for peripheral artery disease, call Advanced Cardiovascular & Vein Center or book an appointment online today.