If you checked yes for any of the above questions, you may have vascular disease.
What is peripheral arterial disease?
Your arteries distribute oxygen-rich blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Your peripheral arteries carry blood away from the heart to your arms and legs. The peripheral arteries in your legs are extensions of the largest artery in your body, the aorta. The aorta travels down through your abdominal region and branches off into the iliac arteries of both legs. The iliac arteries divide into smaller arteries and carry blood down your legs and to your toes.
Healthy peripheral arteries are smooth and unobstructed, allowing blood to flow freely to the legs and supply oxygen, glucose, and other necessary nutrients. Typically with age, the peripheral arteries collect plaque, a sticky substance made up of fat and cholesterol. Plaque narrows the passageway within the arteries and causes them to become rigid. Peripheral arterial disease results when the peripheral arteries become too narrow or blocked and limit blood flow to the legs. If left untreated, the peripheral arterial disease can cause pain or ache in the legs, difficulty with walking, resting pain in the feet at night in bed, and non-healing sores or infections in the toes or feet. In its most severe form, it can lead to limb loss. In addition, it can be associated with other serious arterial conditions that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
Peripheral arterial disease can be diagnosed, along with its severity, by a simple, non-invasiveDoppler examination.
Vascular surgeons are the only physicians treating vascular disease today who can provide all the treatment options available.
Causes and risk factors:
- Family history of vascular problems
- Gender—males are more prone to the condition than females
- High cholesterol
- Lack of exercise
Peripheral arterial disease can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications, minimally invasive angioplasty/stenting, or open bypass surgery. The treatment depends upon the severity of the condition.