Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease or peripheral artery disease, is  plaque (made of fat, cholesterol and other substances) that forms gradually inside your artery walls slowly narrows your extremity arteries. This plaque is also known as atherosclerosis. Blood clots can form around the plaque, making your artery even narrower.

If your arteries become narrowed or blocked with plaque or a blood clot, blood can’t get through to nourish organs and other tissues. This causes damage to your toes and feet and eventually death (gangrene) of tissues and extremities.

Smoking is the most important risk factor for PAD. In fact, 80% of people with PAD are people who currently or were former smokers.

Regardless of your sex, you’re at risk of developing peripheral arterial disease when you have one or more of these risk factors: Smoking, diabetes, Age > 50 personal or family history of heart or blood vessel disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, blood clotting disorder.

The typical symptom of PAD is called “claudication,” a medical term that refers to pain in your leg that comes on with walking or exercise and goes away with rest, and also called leg angina. Numb, heavy, tired, weak, pale, and cold  extremities can be other symptoms. Untreated people can undergo to extremity amputation.  

Ankle/brachial index (ABI) (measurement of the blood pressure in your lower legs compared to the blood pressure in your arms), arterial ultrasound, computurized tomography angiography and conventional arterial angiography are the diagnostic tests for PAD.  

The two main goals in the treatment of PAD include:

  • Reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Improving quality of life by easing the pain that occurs with walking.

With early diagnosis, lifestyle changes and treatment, you can stop PAD from getting worse. In fact, some studies have shown that you can reverse peripheral vascular disease symptoms with exercise combined with careful control of cholesterol and blood pressure. If you think you’re at risk for PAD or may already have the disease, talk to your primary care doctor, vascular medicine specialist or cardiologist so you can get started on a prevention or treatment program as soon as possible.

Lifestyle changes;  medications and interventional procedures can treat your PAD.

Lifestyle changes: 1-quit smoking, 2- balanced diet, 3-control diabetes, cholesterol levels, and hypertension 4-exercise and meditation

Medication; antiaggregants, antiplatelets, statins, antidiabetics and antihypertensives

Peripheric angioplasty with drug eluted balloons and peripheric stents.

Peripheric arterial surgery with autogeneous or fabric grafts,