Recognizing the Early Signs of Peripheral Artery Disease

It’s a simple fact of life that certain tasks and movements become harder as you age. Sometimes even the most mundane tasks become more difficult or painful. For example, you may not be able to turn your head as far or may need more time to get up from the couch. 

Perhaps most common among all of these later-life slowdowns is walking. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 15.7 million Americans over 65 have some kind of disability. And two-thirds of these seniors have issues with walking or general mobility. 

If you experience pain while walking, you may be suffering from peripheral artery disease, also known as peripheral vascular disease. Thankfully, this disease doesn’t have to be permanent and may be treated and eventually eradicated through treatment.  

Are you currently dealing with pain when walking that often dissipates after you get off your feet? If so, come see the team at Phoenix Heart. We were recently voted No. 1 in cardiology groups by Ranking Arizona magazine and we set the bar in cardiovascular care. Our medical team is dedicated to treating patients and their caregivers with the utmost respect, empathy, and professionalism. We are consistently at the forefront of adopting the newest and best technologies to advance the health of our patients.

When it comes to peripheral artery disease, early detection can help you get a head start on your road to recovery. Below, find out more about peripheral artery disease and how we detect and treat it.

What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease is a common circulatory problem in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. This, in turn, effectively narrows your arteries and reduces the blood flow to the areas they serve. 

These areas don’t get enough blood to satisfy their demand, which causes painful symptoms. Although the disease can manifest in many parts of the body, most patients feel its effects most acutely in their legs.

A tricky diagnosis

Because leg pain is so common in older adults and seniors, the symptoms of peripheral artery disease are often mistaken for something else. In fact, the American Heart Association has found that it frequently goes undiagnosed by medical professionals. 

Despite this, people who suffer from this disease are at a higher risk for heart attack or stroke. If left untreated, peripheral artery disease can lead to gangrene and even amputation.

What causes peripheral artery disease?

The disease is most often caused by atherosclerosis, the name for the process of fatty plaque building up in the arteries. Common risk factors for peripheral artery disease include the following:

The disease can affect people of all races, but African Americans are at a much higher risk of developing it. Hispanic Americans also carry a slightly higher risk.

Symptoms

The best way to stop the progression of peripheral artery disease is through early recognition of its symptoms. The quicker you notice the disease, the quicker you can start treatment. Common symptoms may include:

A clear sign of peripheral artery disease is leg pain that is relieved when you’re at rest. This is because your legs require less blood when they’re not being actively used.

Treatment

If there is a silver lining to all of this, it’s that lifestyle adjustments are often the best way to treat peripheral artery disease. When caught early, weight loss, ending tobacco usage, exercise, and improved eating and nutrition may be able to significantly improve your symptoms.

You can beat peripheral artery disease with early detection and treatment. Phoenix Heart can help. Call or request an appointment at one of our five Phoenix area offices today.

 

 

 

 

You Might Also Enjoy...

When to Consider Intravascular Ultrasound

Intravascular ultrasound uses state-of-the-art technology to see “inside” your blood vessels, helping your doctor diagnose and treat problems affecting your arteries and veins. Here’s when it’s used — and how it might benefit you.

How High Thyroid Levels Affect the Heart

Hyperthyroidism can take a big toll on your heart health. Recognizing the symptoms of thyroid-related heart problems is an important step in getting prompt treatment. Here’s what you should know.

Signs of Severe Hypertension

Severe hypertension is a complication of high blood pressure that can lead to organ failure and death without prompt medical treatment. If you have high blood pressure, these are the signs and symptoms to look out for.

What Happens During a Nuclear Stress Test?

Nuclear stress tests might sound a little scary, but they’re actually straightforward, safe, and effective for diagnosing and managing cardiovascular problems. If a nuclear stress test is in your future, here’s what to expect.

Little-Known Signs of a Heart Attack

You know the dramatic, obvious signs of a heart attack. But many people, especially women, never experience highly noticeable symptoms. Learn what other signs may predict a heart attack.