Tuesday, 08 February 2022 00:00

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that causes poor circulation in the lower limbs. This occurs due to a buildup of a fatty substance called plaque in the arteries that supply the lower limbs. The plaque buildup causes the arteries to narrow and harden, restricting blood flow. 

In its initial stages, PAD may not cause any noticeable symptoms. As the condition progresses, the first sign of PAD is usually claudication, a pain or cramping in the lower legs that occurs during walking or exercise. Claudication is caused by reduced blood flow to the muscles in the lower legs. Other symptoms of PAD that may appear over time include pain, numbness, heaviness, or achiness in the leg muscles, weak or absent pulses in the legs and feet, slow-healing wounds on the legs or feet, skin discoloration, poor toenail growth, poor hair growth on the legs, and low leg temperature. These are all signs of decreased circulation in the legs. 

PAD is a particularly dangerous condition because it can increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Complications or a total loss of circulation can also increase your risk of limb amputation. A chiropodist can screen you for peripheral artery disease using quick, noninvasive vascular tests. The Ankle-Brachial Index, a test that measures the blood pressure in your arm and in your ankle and then compares the two numbers to see if you are at risk for PAD, and ultrasound imaging of the blood vessels in your legs, are frequently used as screening measures. 

If you have symptoms of PAD, or if you have been diagnosed with PAD and would like to learn more about maintaining the health of your lower limbs, please consult with a chiropodist. 

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