What is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a prevalent yet frequently undiagnosed condition characterized by the obstruction of the arteries which transport blood to the arms and legs. This obstruction can be very concerning if not dealt with properly. PAD is also called Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) and can be prevented with a heart-healthy lifestyle and some other changes. The underlying cause of this disease is the accumulation of fatty deposits within the arterial walls,or a condition known as atherosclerosis.
Does Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Cause Arterial Ulcers?
Yes. PAD causes arterial ulcers. Arterial ulcers result from poor blood flow caused by conditions including PAD, which diminish the oxygenated blood supply to tissues. With PAD, sufferers form a vulnerability to injury and therefore are susceptible to arterial ulcers, chronic wounds, and more. Even minor trauma or pressure can trigger chronic, non-healing wounds, ulcers, and potential infections.
Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and Arterial Ulcers
What are the Symptoms of PAD?
Symptoms of PAD are leg pain, cramping, and fatigue. These symptoms are made worse during physical activity.
What are the Symptoms of Arterial Ulcers?
Arterial ulcers are sores with well-defined edges, typically found on the feet or lower legs. These sores are often painful and may exhibit a bluish or blackened appearance because of the inadequate blood circulation. Swift medical attention is necessary for both PAD and arterial ulcers in order to stave off complications like infection and even more seriously, tissue death.
How Do You Prevent Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?
Preventing PAD involves taking a series of actionable steps. First of all, those at risk of PAD should incorporate significant changes to their lifestyle and routine. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are necessary. Avoiding smoking will diminish the risk significantly. Also, it’s necessary to manage any already-diagnosed conditions, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Develop a heart-healthy lifestyle where vitamins, fresh fruits and vegetables are part of everyday life. Make it so that your health comes first. Reduce stress. Take the medications prescribed by doctors and get consistent check-ups. It’s crucial to identify and address PAD as soon as possible. That way you can prevent PAD from progressing into an arterial ulcer. Arterial ulcers are prevented by preventing PAD.
More About Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Health Concerns
Here are some of the top health concerns related to Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) or Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD).
Diminished Blood Flow
The most alarming aspect of PAD is that it constricts blood flow to the extremities, particularly the legs. Compromised circulation deprives the muscles and tissues in these regions of a sufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients, which are necessary for proper functioning and especially necessary for proper wound management and healing. Common indications of PAD are leg pain, cramping, and fatigue, which are particularly pronounced during exercise and movement. While stretching might offer some relief, this condition makes it difficult to do regular tasks like exercise, moving, walking, getting the mail, and etc. This underscores the importance of seeking medical attention if you think you have PAD or are at risk of developing it.
Elevated Risk of Complication
Beyond persistent discomfort and leg pain caused by PAD, neglecting proper care for this condition can lead to significant complications. Among the most alarming is the potential for tissue damage and chronic, non-healing wounds (for example, arterial ulcers). Limited blood flow can slow the healing process for even minor injuries, especially ones located on the feet and legs. This gives PAD sufferers a vulnerability to infections and ulcers. In more severe examples of PAD, this progression can result in tissue death, known as necrosis. In very severe cases, the leg or foot could become gangrenous, which would potentially necessitate the amputation of the limb.
PAD isn’t confined to just the legs and feet; it can occur anywhere in the body. Actually, it’s a sign of a broader issue called systemic atherosclerosis. This means that the same plaque buildup that caused a narrowing of the peripheral arteries can also impact the arteries that carry blood to and from the heart and brain. Individuals with PAD face a higher chance of experiencing heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular issues because of how PAD interrupts normal blood flow. The very factors that play a role in causing PAD, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, can also trigger these more severe cardiovascular events.
PAD frequently goes unnoticed and is therefore underdiagnosed and undertreated. Those with PAD often confuse symptoms with other ailments or brush them off as typical signs of aging. Detecting and handling PAD early are vital to stop it from getting worse and to lessen complications. Controlling PAD involves making changes to your lifestyle, using medications to manage risk factors, and in certain instances, considering surgical interventions, including angioplasty and stenting. These measures enhance blood flow and benefit the overall well-being of those dealing with PAD.
In summary, PAD is a severe condition that is frequently overlooked and therefore left untreated. Due to inadequate treatment, PAD can quickly progress into an arterial ulcer. Arterial ulcers are the result of mishandled PAD and the mishandling of other untreated conditions. PAD’s symptoms are cramping and fatigue. Identifying an arterial ulcer is easy. First of all, the ulcer is a sizeable wound with defined edges. It’s often dark in color and will get darker based on how it’s handled. These wounds can become chronic easily, which underscores the fact that ulcers require close monitoring by a wound care specialist.
For those at risk of PAD, several proactive steps can be taken. Quitting smoking is the initial crucial step. After that, cultivating a heart-healthy lifestyle where exercise and diet take center stage is paramount because it will reduce the likelihood of PAD development.
Contact Wound Care OC for wound treatment in Orange County, CA
Dr. Faried Banimahd is a board-certified physician specializing in emergency medicine, wound care, and pain management. Our team will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs and unique conditions. Our clinic includes highly trained and experienced physicians, registered nurses, and certified medical staff who work together to provide you with the highest standards of wound care treatments.