Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
When the legs’ blood vessels are blocked or narrowed as a result of fatty deposits causing less blood to reach your legs and feet, you have PAD or Peripheral arterial disease. With PAD, the possibility of getting stroke and heart attack is greater. Approximately one third of the diabetics pass 50 years old suffer from this disease. Unfortunately, even those with warning signs, and they are many, do not get treatment because they are not aware of PAD.
How is diabetes connected to PAD?
Risks for PAD
The risk for PAD is present when you have diabetes but you multiply your risk with the conditions given below:
- Over age 50
- Sedentary life
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal levels of blood cholesterol
- Family background of strokes, heart attacks or heart disease.
- Have suffered from a heart disease, perhaps a stroke or a heart attack
Modern Medicine – Peripheral Artery Disease – Video Guide
PAD’s warning signs
Most sufferers of PAD and diabetes do not experience any symptoms. Several may get slight leg pain or difficulty in walking and thought it was because of aging. The symptoms may include the following:
- Slow healing of infections and sores on the legs or feet.
- The feet or lower legs feel coldness, tingling or numbness.
- Pain in the leg while exercising or walking, which goes away with a short rest.
How do we know it is PAD?
PAD is diagnosed with the ABI (ankle brachial index) test. Your ankle’s blood pressure is compared to your arm’s blood pressure in this test. You have PAD if your arm’s blood pressure is higher than your ankle’s blood pressure. The ADA (American Diabetes Association) gathered an expert panel and this panel suggests that diabetics above 50 years of age get tested for PAD with the ABI. Even diabetics not yet 50 can benefit from this test if they experience other risk factors of PAD.
Other tests for the diagnosis of PAD:
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): Special scanning methods are used to find blood vessel blockages.
- Ultrasound: a test which uses sound waves to put on a screen blood vessel images.
- Angiogram (AN-gee-oh-gram): In this test, blood vessels have dyes injected into them with a catheter so that X-rays can show if the arteries are blocked or narrowed.
Treatment of PAD
It is necessary to be able to avoid situations which can lead to cardiovascular problems, since sufferers of PAD are very susceptible to stroke and heart attacks. You should take the following actions:
- Lower LDL cholesterol to 100 mg/Dl and below.
- Reduce blood pressure to lower than 130/80 mmHg.
- Target for below 7 percent in an A1c test which calculates your blood glucose average for the previous 3 months.
- Stop smoking. Ask for help from your health care team.
- Discus with your doctor about using anti-platelet or aspirin. They have been known to lessen the possibility of strokes and heart attacks among people suffering from PAD.
According to researchers, exercise, like walking, can be effective in preventing as well as treating PAD. Medications can bring relief to symptoms.
In several cases, PAD is treated with surgical procedures:
- Artery bypass graft: it makes use of a blood vessel from any other part of your own body to be attached so that it bypasses the artery which has been blocked.
- Angioplasty, which is also known as balloon angioplasty, is the use of a tiny tube that has an attached balloon, sent into an artery where it is inflated to open up the blocked artery. A stent, which is a wire tube, may be left at the blocked site to ensure the artery is kept open.