PAD Month

September is P.A.D. Awareness Month. About 8.5 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from this condition.

What is P.A.D?

P.A.D. stands for Peripheral Artery Disease. It’s a circulatory problem characterized by the narrowing of the arteries. This doesn’t only cause a reduction of blood flow into the extremities, but can also affect blood flow to vital organs such as the heart and the brain. 

Causes of P.A.D

Most cases of P.A.D. are brought about by atherosclerosis, a condition caused by a buildup of fatty deposits (called plaques) on the arterial walls. 

Other possible causes of P.A.D. include injury to the limbs, blood vessel inflammation, radiation exposure, and unusual anatomy of the ligaments or muscles.

At-Risk Group

You are at a higher risk of developing P.A.D. if you are/have:

  • A smoker 
  • Obese
  • Over the age of 50 
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol and/or high blood pressure
  • A family history of peripheral artery disease, stroke, or heart disease

Signs and Symptoms

Many people with P.A.D. don’t exhibit signs and symptoms. Those who do often experience leg pain when walking (claudication). The severity of claudication can vary from one person to another. Some people have mild claudication while others have severe. 

Other symptoms of P.A.D. include leg numbness or weakness, painful cramping in one or both hips, a change of skin color on the legs, sores on the legs, feet, or toes that don’t heal, shiny skin on the legs, and for men, erectile dysfunction.

Treatment and Complications

A treatment plan for P.A.D. aims to manage the symptoms of the disease and keep it from progressing (untreated P.A.D could lead to heart attack and stroke). 

In the early stages, lifestyle changes, and drugs to lower high blood pressure, cholesterol, and control blood sugar may be recommended by your doctor. In cases where P.A.D. is causing claudication, a surgical procedure may be needed to eliminate a dangerous blockage.

Some of the vascular procedures that are used to treat Peripheral Artery Disease include angioplasty, bypass surgery, and thrombolytic therapy. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms of P.A.D. that are affecting your quality of life, it’s important to see a Vascular Specialist, like the team at Premier Vascular and Vein Center in Knoxville.

The board-certified Vascular Surgeons of Premier Surgical Associates have years of experience in diagnosing and treating peripheral artery disease. To request an appointment, you may call us at (865) 306-5775