H. CHARLES-HARRIS, MD & ASSOCIATES
BREAST, GENERAL, VASCULAR, ENDOVASCULAR & ROBOTIC SURGERY
WHAT IS PAD?
Peripheral Artery Disease is a condition of the blood vessels that leads to narrowing and stiffening of the blood vessels that supply the organs in to body. This includes the legs, brain and kidneys but also can affect the intestines and other structures such as the arms. This narrowing leads to decreased blood flow, which can decrease function and even cause the organs to die.
Peripheral Artery Disease is caused by arteriosclerosis, commonly referred to as"hardening of the arteries." This problem occurs when fat and other debris known as plaque builds up on the walls of your arteries. This causes the arteries to become narrower and they also become stiffer and cannot widen to allow greater blood flow when needed. As a result, when the muscles of your legs are working harder they cannot get enough blood, oxygen and other nutrients. In many patients, there may not be enough blood and oxygen, even when the muscles are resting. This can lead to pain and even gangrene (death of tissues).
PAD is common and usually affects people over age 50. Risk factors include:
Symptoms and Signs
The classic symptoms are pain, achiness, fatigue, burning, or discomfort in the muscles of your feet, calves, or thighs. These symptoms usually appear during walking or exercise and go away after several minutes of rest.
When peripheral artery disease becomes severe, you may have:
During an examination, the health care provider may find:
When PAD is more severe, findings may include:
Blood tests may show abnormal cholesterol, diabetes or a condition known as homocysteinemia.