Leg pain is an occurrence you are likely to ignore, hoping the pain will resolve without medical intervention. Unfortunately, recurring leg pain, especially with physical exercises, may be a symptom of a severe condition like a peripheral arterial disease. When you have the condition, plaque builds up gradually in your legs’ arteries. Failure to seek professional help leads to plaque build-up narrowing your blood vessels, limiting blood flow in your legs. In severe instances, a total blockage may result in the loss of a limb. Are you suspecting you have PAD symptoms and do not know where to start? If so, Dr. Ramzan M Zakir is the professional to contact.
What are the symptoms you are likely to have with peripheral arterial disease?
Not everyone with PAD has symptoms. While others experience debilitating symptoms, the signs may hide in other people. The typical symptom you are likely to have with PAD is leg pain that worsens, especially with physical activities like walking that resolves with rest. Additionally, sigs like claudication (muscle cramps when walking) in your buttocks, thighs, calves, or hips indicate that you might be having PAD. The pain you feel with PAD may vary from mild to severe, affecting both legs but worsening in one leg.
Besides the discomfort you feel after walking for a while, you might also have an open ulcer or wound mostly on a pressure point (toes of feet). In case of no medical attention, the ulcer might progress to gangrene.
Other symptoms you might have with the condition include:
- Wasting of your leg muscles
- Open sores in your legs or feet that take time to heal, heal poorly, or fail to heal
- Hair loss on your legs
- Erectile dysfunction, especially in men
- Slow-growing toenails
- Change of your legs’ skin color
- Shiny skin
PAD symptoms are gradual. You are likely to experience a slow progression in the symptoms. However, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden symptoms or signs that worsen instantly.
What are the causes of PAD?
You will most likely suffer from PAD when plaque builds up in the lining of your leg’s arteries. The continued compilation of the mix of cholesterol and other substances in your arteries thin the blood vessels, restricting blood flow to your legs (atherosclerosis). You are at a higher risk of developing PAD and other forms of cardiovascular diseases if you have the following:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Aging (above 60 years)
How do you prevent PAD?
The good news about PAD is lifestyle changes can help you manage the condition. Your doctor may suggest ways to help you control your high blood pressure and sugar levels. Your doctor provider may advise you to quit bad habits like smoking and encourage physical exercise. Additionally, your doctor may also advise you to minimize your alcohol consumption, shed off weight (if you are obese), and eat a healthy diet.
PAD increases your risk of developing stroke, heart attack, and other cerebrovascular illnesses. Contact your doctor for an ankle-brachial index test (ABI) or other imaging tests like magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) when you suspect you have PAD symptoms.