Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can cause serious problems in your extremities, especially your legs, because they aren’t getting the blood supply they need. At St. Louis Heart and Vascular, the team of specialists has extensive experience helping their patients move freely again by addressing the underlying circulatory problem. If you’re having trouble with peripheral artery disease, call one of the six locations in St. Louis, Des Peres, St. Charles, and Bridgeton, Missouri, and Granite City, Illinois, to schedule a consultation.
As the name implies, peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition in which your extremities, and sometimes your stomach or head, aren’t getting the blood supply they need because of narrowed arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis.
PAD typically affects your legs more than any other area, which makes sense given that the combination of distance and gravity make circulation more difficult in these areas.
The primary symptom of PAD is claudication, or pain in your legs or arms. This pain can feel like cramping, and it usually comes on with physical activity. The level of pain can vary widely, from mild to debilitating, depending upon the degree of the disease.
Other symptoms of PAD include:
What makes PAD tricky is that some people feel no symptoms at all from the disease.
The cause of PAD is narrowing in the peripheral arteries, or atherosclerosis, which leads to a buildup of fatty deposits in your blood. This condition typically develops over time and is brought on by the following risk factors:
There are less common cases where PAD is caused by an acute condition in the vessels in your extremities. The best way to find out for sure is to see one of the cardiovascular specialists at St. Louis Heart and Vascular.
Your cardiologist performs a thorough diagnostic exam, which includes checking the pulses in your arms and legs. An ultrasound or other imaging tests may be done to help your doctor identify where your arteries may be causing problems. Depending upon the degree to which your arteries are clogged, your doctor may turn to a number of treatments, including:
Your doctor starts out conservatively and becomes more aggressive if your PAD goes unresolved. It’s very important that you do your part by maintaining your health, including:
To get expert treatment for your peripheral artery disease, call St. Louis Heart and Vascular at one of their six locations.