Peripheral Artery Disease, which is also referred to as PAD, is a condition that causes the peripheral arteries to constrict. These include the arteries of the head, arms, stomach, and legs, but the legs are most often affected.
PAD is caused by atherosclerosis. Plaque causes the narrowing and blockage of arteries that are located in critical locations throughout the body. When severe, the blood flow is blocked to the point that the tissues could die, forcing amputation of the leg or foot.
Peripheral artery disease doesn’t always cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, however, they include:
The biggest risk factor for peripheral artery disease is smoking, so quitting will help reduce your risk. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and high cholesterol are also risk factors for PAD, so treating those conditions with lifestyle changes can also help.
Other treatment options include surgery and procedures to restore blood flow, as well as medications. Medications that could treat PAD include pentoxifylline, aspirin, anti-clotting medicines, and cilostazol.
Some of the lifestyle changes that are recommended to those suffering with PAD include exercise, diet changes, and other efforts that could help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.