Peripheral Artery Disease is a condition that occurs when the arteries in your body become narrowed or blocked. It can lead to discomfort and pains, but it also has more sinister side effects. PAD can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell the difference between pains from lack of exercise or cramps, and pains caused by PAD. The American Heart Association says that PAD often goes ignored. Here’s a few tips to keep your arteries working at full capacity and, hopefully, decrease your risk of PAD.
1. Look out for symptoms. Pains or numbness in your hips, thighs, or calf muscles while walking, discoloration, less hair growth, a shiny quality to your leg skin, and a weak pulse are all potential symptoms of PAD.
2. Know the cause. The Mayo Clinic says that PAD can be caused by fatty build up in the arteries (like the kind found in smokers), blood vessel inflammation, exposure to radiation, muscular defects, and injury.
3. Know your risk factors. Smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being over 50, and a family history with PAD, heart disease, and stroke are all known to increase your risk.
4. If you think you might have PAD, get a diagnosis. An ankle-brachial index, MRI, CTA, or Doppler ultrasound can all be performed to check for PDA.
5. Get treatment and follow your doctors orders. There are a number of ways to tackle PDA. Ask your doctor which methods are best for you.