What is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?
This buildup – called plaque – narrows your arteries, often reducing or blocking the flow of blood. PAD is most commonly seen in the legs, but also can be present in the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, arms, kidneys, and stomach. Nearly everyone who has PAD – even those who do not have leg symptoms – suffers from an inability to walk as fast or as far as they could before PAD. In all, PAD affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States, especially those over 50.
Who Gets PAD?
PAD Risk Factors
- Over the age of 50
- Age 50 or older with a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or smoking
- From a family with a history of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke
- Of African American or Hispanic descent
- On dialysis
- Elevated C-reactive protein
If you have any of these risk factors, you may have Peripheral Arterial Disease. Take our PAD Risk Assessment to find out if you might have PAD.
What are the Symptoms of PAD?
- Leg pain, fatigue, heaviness, tiredness, cramping in the leg muscles, or pain in the buttocks, thigh, or calf that occurs when walking or climbing stairs and is relieved with rest
- Pain in the legs at rest
- Pain, sores, or wounds on toes, feet, or legs
- Temperature lower in one leg than the other
- Poor nail growth on toes and decreased hair growth on legs
- A poorly healing wound on a lower extremity
- Injury to a lower limb or foot involving blood vessels
- Discoloration of the toes, feet, or legs (color changes in the skin including pallor or blue discoloration)
Peripheral Artery Disease Treatments
Angioplasty and Stenting
Blocked or narrowed blood vessels can be a serious result of PAD. Our physician uses angioplasty to help open narrowed arteries.
This technique uses a very small balloon attached to a thin catheter, which is inserted into a blood vessel through a small nick in the skin. The catheter is threaded under x-ray guidance to the site of the blockage, and the balloon is inflated to open the artery. Sometimes, a small metal scaffold, called a stent, is inserted to keep the blood vessel open.
Atherectomy is a minimally invasive method for removing atherosclerotic plaque from an artery. Unlike angioplasty and stents which push plaque into the vessel wall, atherectomy involves removing the plaque burden from the vessel. Some key differences between atherectomy and angioplasty and stenting are less vessel trauma, no foreign object (stent) left in the body, and all future treatment options are left open.
Want to see a PAD Physician in the North Jersey area?
Request an appointment today and meet with one of our board certified physicians in our convenient Woodland Park, NJ location.