Although your heart is at the center of your cardiovascular system, the entire system must function to keep your body healthy. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a progressive condition that impacts the arteries carrying blood from your heart through your body. As it gets more serious, it can cause pain, dysfunction, or even loss of the organs the blood is supposed to supply.
Fortunately, PAD is treatable. However, the treatment depends on the level of your PAD. The sooner we detect PAD, the more we can rely on noninvasive treatments – and the more likely you are to get good results.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is when the arteries that carry blood away from the heart to supply your limbs and organs, including your brain, become narrowed or blocked.
Causes of PAD include:
Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) affects most people to some extent. As the arteries become scarred, they can also narrow, restricting the flow of blood to organs and muscles. The most common form of arteriosclerosis is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in arteries. How much plaque accumulates depends on your lifestyle and personal risk factors.
Injury can lead to blockage of the peripheral arteries. The injury itself might damage the blood vessels. In addition, scarring and healing could lead to further blockage.
Some people have relatively narrow peripheral arteries. These are especially prone to blockage and may even contribute to symptoms of PAD when no technical disease is present.
Infection can contribute to PAD in several ways. Growing bacterial colonies can themselves block your arteries, though this is less common. More commonly, your body’s response to infection, including inflammation, will lead to swelling in the area. Swelling tissues, including the walls of your arteries, can lead to narrowing of your arteries, leading to blockage.
People with coronary arterial disease (CAD) also commonly have PAD.
PAD can be a slow progressive condition that doesn’t manifest as noticeable symptoms at first. However, when the disease becomes more serious, you may notice numerous symptoms depending on where the narrowing or blockage occurs.
Common symptoms of PAD include:
Claudication is the most common symptom of PAD. This is pain in the legs when you are being active. You might also experience cramps. The pain and cramps disappear after a short rest. As the disease worsens, you might notice pain in your legs even when resting.
Most people have some risk of PAD. However, your risk is higher if you:
We can change some of these risk factors to head off the development of PAD, but some of them cannot be changed. If you have unalterable risk factors, you should remain vigilant for PAD.
When we diagnose or suspect PAD, we can recommend treatments depending on the severity of the condition. We may recommend:
Often, a combination approach works best to prevent the development of serious PAD. Sometimes, the effects of PAD cause so much tissue destruction that amputation of the affected limb(s) is necessary.
At Colorado Springs Cardiology, we use the latest proven techniques and technologies to treat PAD. However, we understand that successful treatment is about more than just technology. We want to treat you as a whole person and individual, not just a heart condition. Colorado Springs Cardiology has more doctors, specialists, and nurses than any cardiology practice in Southern Colorado. This helps you find a doctor that meets your needs and your personality. You’ll get a dedicated treatment team that gets to know you, not just your condition.
With several locations across Southern Colorado, you can find a location that’s convenient for you. We can also help with transportation to your treatment location, including local lodging to make access easier. We accept most insurance, and we offer financial assistance for people who need it.
Learn more about how Colorado Springs Cardiology can help you achieve the best results from peripheral arterial disease treatment. Please call 719-960-0363 or use our online form to schedule an appointment today.