Among the many ailments and illnesses that exist, there are few that are of more significance than Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD. The significance of this disease does not lie only in the symptoms and how it affects your body but the measures that can be taken to prevent such a diagnosis.
In its most simple form, PAD is a narrowing of blood vessels in a person’s body most commonly affecting the pelvis and legs. This will cause cramping, pain or tiredness in the lower part of the body, especially in the legs. These symptoms will typically reside after a period of rest which is why many people push it aside and conclude that it is due to their lack of physical conditioning.
PAD also sometimes goes undiagnosed by healthcare professionals, this is why it’s important to talk to a vascular surgeon. If gone untreated, this disease can be very devastating and even deadly by increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke and can lead to gangrene and amputation. There is nothing to be taken lightly when talking about PAD or increases in risk that may be experienced due to certain lifestyle choices or physical conditions.
Some other common symptoms include:
- Painful cramping in one or both of your hips, thighs or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs (claudication)
- Numb legs or weak legs
- Cold legs and feet to the touch, especially if it varies from the other side
- Wounds and sores on legs and feet that won’t heal
- A color change in your legs or feet
- Slow growth of hair and toenails on legs and feet
- Shiny skin on your legs
- Weakened or no pulse detected in legs or feet
Would you increase your risk of being diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease if you could? This sounds like a ludicrous question that most if not all people would answer no to. Unfortunately many of the decisions we make increase the risk of a variety of diseases including PAD and we willfully choose them. Smoking is the single cause of a myriad of diseases and health problems along with poor diet and lack of exercise. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking all increase your chance of PAD not to mention the other negative health attributes associated with them. So if you do not have PAD then those are the areas of your life that need to be looked at and considered in order to lower your risk. If you already have been diagnosed with PAD, it’s not over, there are things you can do to help.
Most cases of Peripheral Artery Disease can be managed by a combination of lifestyle choices and medication. By adapting to and leading a heart healthy lifestyle and following the advice of a medical professional you may well be on your way to effective management of PAD.
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