Peripheral Arterial Disease

This blog discusses what increases the risk of getting PAD, the signs and symptoms and how a diagnosis is made.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a condition effecting the arteries, which are the blood vessels that deliver oxygen from the heart to the tissues. PAD causes the arteries to become narrowed thus influencing the amount of blood carried to the legs and arms.

What is the cause of PAD?

PAD occurs by a gradual build-up of fatty material within the arterial walls. This condition is called atherosclerosis and it is mostly always the arteries affected in the lower part of the body, such as the legs. Though the exact cause of atherosclerosis is unknown.

Many diseases and conditions can raise the risk of PAD. These include:

• People over the age of 60
• Smokers (the main risk factor)
• Diabetes
• High Blood Pressure
• High Blood Cholesterol
• Stroke
• Coronary Heart Disease

It is interesting to point out that many people who have PAD are asymptomatic, meaning they show no signs or symptoms.

Intermittent claudication is the most common initial symptom of PAD. This is manifested by presenting with pain in the calves of the legs, thigh and buttock whilst walking. To cease the pain, stopping and resting is needed. This is caused by not enough blood and therefore oxygen reaching the limbs.

Other symptoms and signs of PAD include:

• Absent or weak pulses
• Sores or wounds
• Discolouration of skin
• Legs different temperature
• Decreased hair growth on legs
• Gangrene – worst case scenario

There are many ways to diagnose PAD, which would be based on your medical and family history and a physical exam, such as:

• Ankle-Brachial Index which can be organised through an appointment at the office
• Doppler Ultrasound- this is often part of our new patient assessment, our annual diabetic review and whenever indicated within a routine    appointment
• Treadmill Test
• Magnetic Resonance Angiogram
• Arteriogram
• Blood test















Our chiropodists here at The Footcare Centre will always look for signs and symptoms and will be the first professionals to refer you to your family physician if there is any possibility of PAD. To book an appointment call (905) 357-0214 or book online.

This blog has been written by Steven Castillo Pinel and is not necessarily the opinion of The Footcare Centre.

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