Peripheral artery disease affects numerous individuals in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. 1 in 20 Americans over 50 has P.A.D. and you may not even know you have it. This disease occurs when arteries become constricted, causing reduced blood flow to your extremities, especially the legs. Losing blood flow to these areas can cause pain and slowed movement. It can also indicate a large problem in which fatty deposits are blocking your arteries, which can affect other areas besides the extremities. Your heart and brain can be damaged if this disease goes untreated. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to identify and treat peripheral artery disease.
Several symptoms can indicate the presence of peripheral artery disease:
- Leg pain after walking or other activity using your legs
- Numbness or weakness in legs
- A feeling of cold in one or both feet or lower legs
- Unexplained hair loss on legs and feet
- Weak or no pulse in your legs
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you should find a vascular doctor to get an accurate diagnosis. Peripheral artery disease is treatable, so you will be able to return to your normal activity level.
P.A.D. usually occurs in individuals over the age of 70, but it can also affect younger people with a history of smoking and/or diabetes. If you are under 50 and are experiencing the symptoms listed above, underlying issues such as obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure can be causing this disease. Occasionally severe trauma to your limbs or radiation exposure can also cause P.A.D.
Consult a doctor to find out what is causing the problem, so they can correctly treat it.
Diagnosis and Treatments
To be diagnosed with peripheral artery disease, you may undergo several tests. A full physical is generally performed to rule out other possible conditions and root causes of the symptoms. An ultrasound may be used to assess blood flow and detect blocked arteries. Blood tests can also be used to determine whether or not you have P.A.D.
Treatments range from medications to surgery. Medications which treat high blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol may be used to determine if these underlying causes are in fact triggering peripheral artery disease. In some cases, medications are not enough to treat P.A.D, and an angioplasty (a surgery in which a small balloon attached to a catheter is placed in the artery to reopen the wall and increase blood flow in the area) may be necessary. Occasionally a bypass surgery may be performed to allow blood to move through the affected area.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to consult a trained physician, such as the experienced vein doctors at Baton Rouge Vascular Specialty Center. BRVSC can help you determine the cause and the best treatment for your peripheral artery disease in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You can contact them by going to www.brvsc.com or calling (225) 769-4493.