Fat deposits in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, are a leading cause of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a disorder that limits blood flow to the legs. It’s also widely recognized as peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
Atherosclerosis, or the accumulation of fatty plaque in the arteries, is a major contributor. Although PAD can occur in any blood vessel, it often affects the legs.
Peripheral vascular disease symptoms
Without treatment, the peripheral vascular disease might worsen to the point that the patient experiences no symptoms at all. Depending on the area of the body that is not receiving enough blood, symptoms may include:
- Claudication is a type of intermittent pain that might mimic cramps, muscle aches, or a heavy feeling in the body (usually in the legs)
- Experiencing more discomfort while working out (usually in the legs)
- Reduced discomfort while sleeping (usually in the legs)
- The affected body part feels cold.
- Extreme sensitivity
- Weakness of the Muscles
- Shades of blue or purple on the skin
- Irreparable damage (vascular ulcers)
- Loss of skin or patches of discolored skin (gangrene).
Causes of Peripheral Vascular Disease
Atherosclerosis causes peripheral artery disease, the leading cause of peripheral vascular disease. Arteriosclerotic plaque forms when fat accumulates in the arteries and combines with calcium and scar tissue. In some cases, the mixture can harden into plaques. The artery walls might become blocked, narrowed, or weakened by these plaques. The arteries’ ability to transport blood can be compromised or obstructed entirely.
Other possible triggers of PVD include:
- Clots: Clots in circulation can reduce blood flow through an artery. Diabetic patients often have high blood sugar levels, which can lead to long-term damage to their blood vessels. Because of this, they are prone to contracting in width or strength. High blood pressure and elevated blood fat levels are common complications of diabetes. The progression of atherosclerosis can be hastened by both of these disorders.
- Arteritis (or arterial inflammation): Arteritis can lead to a constriction of the arteries or a degradation of their structural integrity. Vasculitis can be the result of an autoimmune disorder. And it’s not just the arteries that can take a hit from the inflammation.
- Infection: Infection can lead to inflammation and scarring, which can reduce blood vessel diameter and strength. Blood vessel infection and damage have long been associated with syphilis and salmonellosis (infection with Salmonella bacteria).
- Broken structures: The narrowing of a blood artery can be caused by structural defects. The majority of abnormalities occur at birth, and their origin is still unclear. The aorta, the main artery supplying blood to the rest of the body from the heart, can be damaged by the vascular illness known as Takayasu disease. Women of Asian descent are disproportionately affected.
- Injury: A car accident or a severe fall might cause damage to blood vessels.
What methods are available for identifying peripheral artery disease?
While there are a number of tests that can be run to confirm a diagnosis of PAD, the legs are typically the first place a doctor looks.
Common diagnostic tools include:
- The ankle-brachial index. This test compares the arterial blood pressure in the arm and ankle.
- Checking cholesterol, homocysteine, and C-reactive protein levels via ultrasound, angiography, and blood testing may also be advised.
- Non-invasive imaging techniques like Doppler and ultrasound (Duplex) can detect blockages in arteries by monitoring blood flow and displaying the results on a screen.
- Another non-invasive method is computed tomographic angiography (CT), which can produce images of the arteries in the patient’s abdomen, pelvis, and legs. Patients with implanted devices like pacemakers or stents can benefit greatly from this examination.
- When it comes to imaging the blood vessels, nothing beats a CT scan. Luckily, X-rays aren’t necessary for MRA.
- Angiography is a technique typically used in conjunction with other vascular therapy treatments. Angiography involves injecting a contrast agent into an artery and then using X-rays to visualize blood flow and locate any potential blockages.
- Painful symptoms, the loss of a limb, an increased risk of coronary artery disease, and carotid atherosclerosis are all possible outcomes of PAD that go undiagnosed or untreated (a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the brain).
The American Heart Association advises those at risk to bring up PAD with their doctor for the purpose of early diagnosis and treatment, as those with PAD have an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke.
Addressing peripheral artery disease
- Changes in lifestyle and medicine are the mainstays of treatment for PAD.
- Regular exercise and giving up smoking are two of the most effective ways to alleviate PAD’s symptoms and slow the disease’s progression. The importance of eating well cannot be overstated.
- Slim down and cut back on the booze if you’re overweight or fat.
PAD is not directly life-threatening, but the method of atherosclerosis that induces it can lead to severe life-threatening problems.
About half of those who suffer from peripheral vascular disease never experience any discomfort. Permanent arterial occlusive disease (PAD) can develop over several years. If you know what’s going on, you can help your vascular surgeon in Lahore in making a prompt diagnosis.
1. In what region of the body does PVD manifest itself the most frequently?
Atherosclerosis, or the accumulation of fatty deposits in a blood vessel, typically an artery, is the primary culprit. As a result of the constriction, less blood can get to the affected area of the body. Leg and kidney blood arteries are particularly vulnerable to the effects of peripheral vascular disease, while the blood vessels of the arms and hands are affected to a lesser extent.
2. What happens if PVD goes untreated?
Untreated peripheral vascular disease (PVD) can worsen critical limb ischemia, a devastating condition that can lead to amputation of the affected limb. Peripheral vascular disease can be reversed and treated if diagnosed early.
3. What kinds of food should people with PVD avoid?
The most important thing is to stick to a heart-healthy diet, cutting out on things like trans fats, saturated fats, simple carbohydrates, and fats. Your overall body and blood vessel inflammation will decrease as a result of that adjustment.