The clogged arteries in the leg that warn of widespread cardiovascular disease are peripheral arterial disease, usually referred to as PAD, and are generally a warning sign of stroke or heart attack. Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and family history: the risks for PAD are the same as for heart disease. Have a look at Pulse Vascular for more info on this.
The more risk factors you have the greater your risk is going to be. Individuals diagnosed with PAD are two to four times more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD) as well and their risk of heart failure is 20-60% higher.
The signs of PAD include stiffness in the leg muscles, weakness, or pain that may arise when you walk or work out in the buttocks, thighs, or calf muscles. However there are no signs identified or observed at all in half of the diagnosed cases of the condition, or it may be dismissed as leg strain, arthritis or other causes. However, the more PAD goes untreated, the more extreme it can become, leading inevitably to the need for amputation.
The key to stopping it from getting to that stage is early identification and treatment of PAD. Usually, the test for PAD is the ankle-brachial index. The procedure includes taking measurements of blood pressure in the arm and then the ankle. There is a comparison of the two numbers: the number of the ankle should be the same or slightly higher than that of the shoulder. You have enough narrowing of the blood vessels in your leg to require further testing, with tests ranging from leg ultrasound to MRI or CT scans. A successful score for the ankle-brachial index is 1 or 1.1 – at or below. 95.
The first and safest line of care is known to be walking for early PAD. The next move will be surgery, usually a leg angioplasty operation, whether the PAD is advanced or the patient refuses to comply with the walking order. Angioplasty below the knee is not known to be a procedure as successful or as durable as that performed above the knee. Another surgical option that may be considered is a bypass if the symptoms are sufficiently extreme or if there is a danger of completely losing the leg. A blood thinner may be administered in most situations, but procedures and drugs are just part of the long-term recovery plan. A key to PAD care is also to identify and remove as many of the risk factors as possible.