Peripheral artery disease happens when the blood flow in the arteries is restricted due to the buildup of a substance such as plaque inside the walls of the vessels. As the disease progresses, the arteries close off more and more and can eventually reach the point to where one or more arteries are completely blocked. The term is used to describe these conditions when they happen in parts of the body other than the brain or heart.
The buildup within the arteries that leads to peripheral artery disease can be attributed to things like high levels of triglycerides or cholesterol. The levels of both of these substances can be determined with some simple blood tests. If they are higher than they should be, our team may recommend some dietary changes accompanied by exercise. If this does not bring the levels to an acceptable level, medication may be prescribed.
Peripheral artery disease can progress to the point that it produces symptoms. If you begin to experience them, you should not ignore them or attribute them to something like not being as young and energetic as you used to be. You should bring them to the attention of our physicians.
One of the main symptoms of peripheral artery disease is pain while walking. While the condition can happen in any part of the body, the legs are the most common places. If the pain begins to develop after you have walked nearly the same distance each time, you should tell our team of medical professionals. The disease could be what is making it happen on a consistent basis like that. If this is the case, the pain will usually subside when you begin to rest.
In advanced cases, however, rest may not relieve the pain. When pain while walking is caused by peripheral artery disease, it happens most often in the calves of the legs. It can, however, happen in any part of the legs as well as the hips. Sometimes, cramping will be present as well.
Anther symptoms of the condition that shows up in the legs includes coldness in the lower leg or foot. While this symptom can be on both sides, there is more reason to be concerned if it happens in only one leg or foot. In a similar manner, numbness or weakness in the feet or legs is a symptom of the disease, as is a sore on the leg that takes longer than it should to heal.
If one or both legs become discolored, the cause could be attributed to a more advanced case of peripheral artery disease. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment at Peripheral Vascular Associates for an evaluation.
Keep in mind that if the buildup of plaque can happen in the legs, it can happen in other parts of the body as well, including the vessels that surround the heart. By having it diagnosed early, you could prevent future problems that are more serious, some of which can be life-threatening. For your convenience, we have offices in San Antonio, Boerne, Corpus Christi, Del Rio, Floresville, Hondo, Jourdanton, New Braunfels and Uvalde. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more.