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What Is Peripheral Artery Disease?

Last updated 3 years ago

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a health problem that affects the circulation. Specifically, it involves the arteries that carry blood to the limbs. The symptoms of PAD occur when the extremities do not receive enough blood. Although PAD is a serious condition, it can often be treated successfully with a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. A cardiovascular specialist at your community hospital can help you reach your treatment goals.

How does PAD Develop?

A cardiovascular specialist can help you understand how you developed this condition. Most often, it’s caused by atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty deposits on the arterial wall, which reduce blood flow. Sometimes, the cause of PAD is exposure to radiation, injury, or blood vessel inflammation. You’re at a higher risk of PAD if you smoke, or if you’re obese, or if you have health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

What are the Symptoms?

Be sure to tell the cardiac care team at your local hospital about all of your symptoms. Some people with PAD experience no symptoms, while others experience intermittent claudication, which refers to leg pain while walking. Muscle pain, cramping in the legs or arms, coldness in the extremities, or changes in skin can indicate PAD.

Are There Any Potential Complications?

If you have PAD caused by atherosclerosis, this problem isn’t necessarily limited to the arteries that extend to your extremities. Plaques can also build up along your arterial walls leading to the heart and brain, which places you at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

How Is PAD Treated?

Lifestyle changes are a cornerstone of PAD treatment. Your cardiac care team may advise you to quit smoking, lose weight, and exercise regularly. Some patients may benefit from medications, such as drugs to control blood sugar or lower cholesterol levels. In some cases, surgery may be recommended.

The team of heart and vascular specialists at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point has made it our mission to help patients enjoy a better quality of life with effective treatments for PAD and other conditions. Our nationally acclaimed healthcare programs can empower you to make informed decisions for your well-being. We invite residents throughout the Hudson, FL area to call our Consult-A-Nurse referral line at (888) 741-5119 for more information about our hospital.


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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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