AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

As we age, our bodies begin to feel the negative effects that come from years of living. Our health pays the price for many of the decisions we make throughout life, but the more we know about preventing certain diseases and illnesses early on, the less of a chance we have of developing these health conditions. Peripheral arterial disease is one such condition that can be developed later in life based largely on our lifestyle choices up to that point, and only after being diagnosed with ankle brachial index testing do those choices really sink in. Here is what you need to know about peripheral arterial disease and how you can prevent it.

What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD for short, is a condition when the arteries in your legs become blocked and your legs do not receive enough blood and oxygen as a result, according to Vascular Web. This is not an uncommon condition, as one in three people over the age of 70 have peripheral arterial disease, and the chances of developing the disease increase the older you get. Even though peripheral arterial disease occurs in the legs it is related to the heart because the arteries affected carry blood away from your heart to your limbs.

What Are the Symptoms?

For many people with peripheral arterial disease, there will be no symptoms at all, explains WebMD. Those who do experience symptoms can expect to feel aching, squeezing, or tight pain in the calf, thigh, or buttock. This usually occurs while walking, but stops when you stop moving. As PAD progresses, pain may occur in the foot or toes even when you are not walking. Some other symptoms can include:

–          Difficulty walking

–          Weak or tired legs

–          Difficulty balancing

–          Cold or numb feet or toes

–          Pain in your feet when you are at rest

–          Sores that heal slowly

What Causes PAD and How Can You Reduce Your Risk?

Peripheral arterial disease is caused by atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries. Individuals over the age of 50 are at an increased risk of developing peripheral arterial disease, and men have a greater chance of developing it than women. There are other factors that can put you at a greater risk, such as:

–          Smoking

–          Diabetes

–          High cholesterol

–          High triglycerides

–          High blood pressure

–          High homocysteine (an amino acid) levels in your blood

–          Weighing more than 30 percent more than your ideal weight

–          A family history of coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis

You can reduce your risk of developing peripheral arterial disease by treating high blood pressure and cholesterol, not smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a well-balanced diet.  

Peripheral arterial disease can be difficult for doctors to diagnose without performing the proper ankle brachial index testing. They can only perform the test if the symptoms of peripheral arterial disease are reported, which is sometimes difficult because other conditions, such as diabetes, can mask some of the symptoms. If you are concerned that you may be at risk for peripheral arterial disease, speak with your doctor today. 

Taylor is a cardiologist who likes to write pieces about how to keep your heart healthy.

Categories: General

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