Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Improve Blood Circulation

What is Peripheral Artery Disease?

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is the blockage in the blood vessels. This results in a reduction in the amount of blood flow that is able to arrive to the muscles, nerves, skin, and bones of the legs/arms. Often confused with disorders of the veins, PAD occurs in the thick-walled arteries that take blood from the heart to the body.

Signs You May Have PAD

When your body doesn’t receive enough blood, you may experience:

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Cramps or aches 
  • Struggling to perform normal tasks like walking
  • Numbness/heaviness in the extremities
  • Burning sensation in the extremities
  • Minor scrapes that result in open wounds which heal slowly (or not at all)
  • Infected wounds for which antibiotics don’t work
  • Disrupted sleep due to leg discomfort

Causes of PAD

There are six conditions which promote the formation of artery blood vessel blockages:

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The strongest contributor to the formation of artery plaques. Smoking is progressive, so when it is continued, the person inevitably suffers a heart attack, stroke, or develops leg infections, wounds, or needs an amputation.

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If you’re diabetic, you are 3-4 times more at risk than nondiabetics of developing PAD.

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High Cholesterol

Poor diet, smoking, and lack of exercise may contribute to your cholesterol levels. If they get too high, your arteries may form blockages.

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High Blood Pressure

By suffering from high blood pressure, your arteries become less elastic.

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Kidney Failure

Loss of kidney function may result in an arterial blockage.

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Overweight / Obese

Being overweight increases your risk of developing PAD. Obesity can make you 3-5 times more likely to develop critical PAD.

The Prevalence of PAD

Unfortunately, most patients do not know they have PAD, which is incredibly alarming considering how widespread the disease is. In the United States, PAD is estimated to affect between 18% and 21% of the population. These blockages form slowly over time and tend to start causing problems in patients over the age of fifty. However, some patients develop complications at younger ages if they have multiple risk factors.

Many of our patients blame their symptoms on age and, although this is understandable, if something feels off in your body, it probably is. Not only do these symptoms reveal the problems in your arms and legs, but since these blockages affect blood vessels throughout your body, they signal a whole-body disorder which threatens your survival. Significant heart disease is present in approximately 2 out of every 3 patients with PAD. These individuals are at risk of heart attacks. Significant blockages in blood vessels going into the brain are present in approximately 1 out of every 3 patients with PAD, putting them at great risk of having strokes.

Dr. Davis in Houston Can Help You Live A Healthier Life

While no drug exists to directly decrease blockages, our Houston cardiovascular surgeon can help you take steps to prevent complications such as wounds or amputation. If you are concerned about PAD, please schedule an appointment so Dr. Davis can understand your concerns and work with you and your doctors to develop a treatment plan.