Peripheral Artery Disease Cause & Symptom

Peripheral Artery Disease Cause & Symptom - Definition - Peripheral arterial disease / Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a condition in which narrowed arteries reduce the circulation of blood flow to your legs. 

When you have peripheral arterial disease, limb - usually legs - do not receive enough blood flow. This causes symptoms, especially leg pain when walking (intermittent claudication). 

Peripheral arterial disease also may be a sign of a wider accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition can reduce blood flow to the heart and brain, as well as your legs. 

Often times, you can treat peripheral artery disease by quitting smoking, exercising and eating a healthy diet. 

Symptoms of peripheral artery disease include: 
• Painful muscle cramps in the hips, thighs or calves after activity, such as walking or climbing stairs (intermittent claudication). 
• Legs feel numb or weak. 
• Cold in the lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other leg 
• Injuries to the toes or foot that does not heal 
• Change the color of your feet 
• Hair loss or slower hair growth on the feet and lower limbs. 
• slow nail growth 
• Skin discoloration on the toe area. 
• No pulse or a weak pulse in the foot or leg. 
• Erectile dysfunction in men 

Peripheral arterial disease is often caused by arteroslerosis (narrowing of blood vessels). On atherosclerosis, fatty deposits (plaque) builds up in the walls of arteries and reduces blood flow. 
Although the heart is usually the focus of the discussion of atherosclerosis, the disease can and usually affects arteries throughout your body. When it occurs in the arteries that supply blood to your limbs, it causes peripheral arterial disease. 
Less common causes such as vascular inflammation, injury to the limbs, unusual anatomy of the ligaments or muscles, or exposure to radiation. 

Risk Factors 
Factors that increase your risk of peripheral artery disease include: 
• Smoking 
• Diabetes 
• Obesity (body mass index over 30) 
• High blood pressure (140/90 mmHg or higher) 
• High cholesterol (total blood cholesterol over 240 milligrams per deciliter, or 6.2 millimoles per liter) 
• Increasing age, especially after reaching the age of 50 years 
• Family history of peripheral arterial disease, heart disease or stroke 
• Excess levels of homocysteine, a protein component that helps build and maintain a network 

People who smoke or have diabetes have the greatest risk of peripheral arterial disease due to decreased blood flow. 

• Chronic Limb Ischemia (CLI). This condition begins with open sores that do not heal, injury, or infection of the leg or foot. CLI occurs when injury or infection develops and can cause tissue death (gangrene), sometimes requiring amputation of the affected limb. 
• Stroke and heart attack. Atherosclerosis that causes signs and symptoms of peripheral arterial disease is not limited to your feet. Fat deposits also occur in the arteries that supply the heart and brain. 

Examination and Diagnosis 
• Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI). 
• Ultrasound. 
• Angiography. 
• Blood tests. 

• Cholesterol-lowering drugs. 
• high blood pressure medicine. 
• Drugs to control blood sugar. 
• Medicines to prevent blood clots. 
• Drugs to alleviate the symptoms .. 

Angioplasty and surgery 
In some cases, angioplasty or surgery may be needed to treat peripheral artery disease that causes intermittent claudication: 
• Angioplasty. In this procedure, a small hollow tube (catheter) is inserted threaded through blood vessels to the affected artery. Small balloon at the tip of the catheter expands to reopen the artery and flatten the blockage against the artery wall, while at the same time stretch the artery open to increase blood flow. 
• Bypass Surgery. Your doctor may make a bypass graft using a blood vessel from another part of your body or a synthetic blood vessels. This technique allows blood to flow around - or cut - the blocked or narrowed artery. 
• Thrombolytic Therapy. If you have a blood clot blocking an artery, your doctor may inject drugs to dissolve clots in your arteries at the point of the clot