Basic Information on Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease is commonly abbreviated as PAD, and it is actually a medical condition in which the arteries outside the brain and the heart get affected. Those arteries include the largest artery inside the human body, called aorta, along with other arteries located in the organs, the neck, the upper limbs and the lower limbs. For those who do not know, arteries are actually certain types of blood vessels which are in charge of carrying the blood and oxygen from the heart to all the other parts of the human body. Once the blood flow to a certain body part is reduced or stopped completely, the peripheral artery disease occurs. Once the certain organ or body part does not get proper amounts of oxygen it gets damaged. There are various different types of signs and symptoms which may indicate the presence of the peripheral artery disease but they largely depend on the part of the body affected by the disease and the exact amount of damage done. The parts of the body which are commonly affected by the disease include the feet and legs. Sores on the legs or feet which simply will not heal are among the most common symptoms of the peripheral artery disease. A person may also feel the legs getting tired very easily. Weakness and numbness in the legs is another common sign of peripheral artery disease. The feet, the calf, the thighs and the hips may be affected by cramps or painful sensations in the muscles. Such problems usually occur while a person exercises or walks, and they are commonly relieved by getting proper amounts of rest. Changes in the color of the nails or skin along with changes in the skin growth may occur. Some severe cases may involve gangrene which indicated that the affected tissue is dead. There are numerous different types of factors which may be held responsible for the blocking, weakening or narrowing of the arteries. Out of all different types of causes, the hardening of the arteries is the most common one, as it is commonly triggered by the accumulation of the plaques and fatty deposits along the walls of the arteries. If there are blood clots present inside the arteries they may also be held responsible for the blocking of the arteries and the prevention of the normal blood flow. The natural process of aging is inevitable and it causes the arteries to gradually lose their elasticity over time. There are also certain types of medical conditions which may lead to a decreased elasticity of the arteries and those include cystic medial necrosis and neurofibromatosis. Arteries are also susceptible to inflammations, and when they get inflamed the condition is referred to as arteritis. Such inflammatory conditions are usually triggered due to a weakened immune system or a development of certain types of infections. An aneurysm is a small pouch which bulges outward through weak spots in the walls of the arteries. They may rupture and lead to excessive bleeding. One of the most common causes of peripheral artery disease is abnormal development of the very arteries. Such medical problems are commonly associated with several other medical conditions such as the fibromuscular dysplasia.
In order to diagnose the peripheral artery disease, the doctor needs to be well informed about the patient’s detailed history. There are certain tests which need to be performed as well. One of the tests is the so called treadmill test. Sometimes it is also referred to as the maximal walking distance test. There are also certain blood tests which need to be undertaken. Another common test is the one known as the arterial Doppler in which the blood flow through the arteries is checked. Ankle brachial index is a test which needs to be taken in each case. Once again, each suspected case involves the use of another test called angiography.
Peripheral arterial disease treatment methods
As far as treatment options go, there are two main methods which can be used. The first one involves reducing the risk for cardiovascular stroke, while the other one focuses on the pain management involved with the intermittent claudication and it also deals with prevention of further complications. There are certain lifestyle and dietary changes which need to be done in order to improve the condition. Special regimes of exercises are also a must for all those who suffer from peripheral artery disease. Since this medical condition is often accompanied by other medical conditions such as the diabetes, high levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and high blood pressure, they need to be taken care of as well. Various medicaments are commonly used and those include statins such as rosuvastatin, atorvastatin, fluvastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin and lovastatin. Certain types of ACE inhibitors may be used as well, and those include lisinopril, perindopril, ramipril, benazepril, quinapril, enalapril and captopril.