Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatment In Tennessee

Varicose Vein Treatment in Cleveland

At Integrative Cardiology, we believe that a healthy circulatory system is crucial for your overall well-being. Our focus is on comprehensive vein and cardiovascular care, addressing the entire network of blood vessels to prevent and treat conditions affecting your arteries and veins. One of our specialties is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).

This page serves as a detailed resource for understanding PAD. We’ll explain what PAD is, its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options. We’ll also provide post-treatment care tips and answer common questions.

If you suspect PAD or want to learn more about maintaining vascular health, schedule a consultation with our expert team today!

Understanding Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a common circulatory disorder that affects blood flow in your legs and sometimes your arms. It occurs when fatty deposits build up inside your arteries, narrowing the passage and restricting blood flow to your limbs.

Several factors can contribute to the development of PAD and it’s hard to nail it down to just one. Here are the main ones:

● Smoking: Smoking damages the lining of your arteries and accelerates plaque buildup.

● Diabetes: Diabetes can damage blood vessels throughout your body, including those in your legs.

● High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Chronically high blood pressure puts additional strain on your arteries.

● High Cholesterol: High levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries.

● Obesity: Excess weight strains your circulatory system, including the arteries in your legs.

● Family History of Vascular Disease: Having a close relative with PAD increases your own risk.

● Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity can contribute to PAD by promoting other risk factors.

Recognizing The Signs & Symptoms of PAD

Early detection of PAD is crucial to prevent complications. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chance of managing the condition effectively and preventing further complications.

Here are some of the common warning signs of PAD to be aware of:

● Leg pain or cramping during physical activity (claudication): This is the most common symptom of PAD and typically occurs in the muscles of your calves, thighs, or buttocks. The pain often feels like a cramping, aching, or tightness sensation and usually improves with rest. For instance, you might experience leg pain while walking uphill or climbing stairs, but the discomfort eases once you stop the activity and take a break.

● Numbness or weakness in the legs: A persistent feeling of numbness, tingling, or weakness in your legs or feet can be a sign of PAD. This numbness may feel like pins and needles or a general lack of sensation in the affected area. Weakness can manifest as difficulty lifting your foot or instability when walking. These symptoms are often more noticeable when you’re at rest, especially at night while lying down.

● Coldness in the lower leg or foot: PAD can reduce blood flow to one or both legs, causing a feeling of coldness compared to the rest of your body. You might notice this temperature difference when you touch your legs or feet. In some cases, the skin on the affected leg may feel cool to the touch even when the room temperature is warm.

● Sores on your toes, feet, or legs that won’t heal: Poor circulation caused by PAD can make it difficult for wounds to heal properly. These sores, also known as ulcers, typically develop on the toes, heels, or the balls of your feet. They may appear as open wounds with a red, irritated border and sometimes have pus drainage. Because of the reduced blood flow, these ulcers heal very slowly and can even become infected if not treated promptly.

● A change in the color of your legs: PAD can cause changes in the color of the skin on your legs due to impaired blood flow. The skin may appear pale or white, especially when the leg is elevated. In some cases, the skin might take on a reddish hue, particularly when the leg is hanging down. These color changes can sometimes be patchy and uneven, and may be accompanied by dry, shiny skin due to lack of proper nourishment.

Dangers of Leaving Peripheral Arterial Disease Untreated

Early detection and treatment of PAD are essential to prevent serious health complications. PAD is a progressive disease, meaning it can worsen over time if left untreated.

While some people may experience mild symptoms or none at all in the early stages, ignoring these warning signs can lead to a cascade of problems down the road. Here’s why prioritizing PAD treatment is crucial for your long-term health and well-being:

● Critical Limb Ischemia: This condition arises when severely narrowed arteries significantly restrict blood flow to your leg or foot. It can cause intense pain, especially at rest and at night. Poor circulation also makes it difficult for wounds to heal, leading to the development of non-healing sores. In severe cases, critical limb ischemia can even lead to tissue death (gangrene) which requires urgent medical or surgical intervention to prevent the spread of infection.

● Increased Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack: PAD is a marker of a systemic condition called atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in your arteries. These fatty deposits don’t just affect the arteries in your legs. They can also narrow arteries supplying blood to your brain and heart, significantly increasing your risk of stroke and heart attack.

● Tissue Loss and Gangrene: In its most severe form, PAD can lead to tissue death (gangrene) due to lack of oxygen and nutrients reaching the affected area. This typically starts in the toes and can progress to involve the foot and even the lower leg. Gangrene often requires amputation to prevent the spread of infection and preserve surrounding healthy tissue.

● Painful Limbs: PAD can cause significant pain in your legs and feet, especially during physical activity. This pain can limit your mobility and make it difficult to participate in daily activities you once enjoyed. The pain may also disrupt your sleep, leading to fatigue and a decline in overall quality of life.

● Skin Changes and Slow Healing: PAD reduces blood flow to the skin, which can lead to changes in skin texture and appearance. The skin on your legs may become dry, thin, and shiny. More importantly, poor circulation significantly impairs wound healing, making you more susceptible to developing infections from even minor cuts or scrapes.

Treatment Options For PAD

PAD affects everyone differently. That’s why we offer a personalized approach to treatment, tailoring a plan to address your specific needs and goals.

Here’s a closer look at some of the minimally invasive procedures we may recommend to manage PAD and improve your symptoms:

Angioplasty and Stenting: This procedure aims to open narrowed arteries in your legs to improve blood flow. A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in your groin and guided to the blockage. Once in place, a tiny balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to widen the narrowed artery. In some cases, a small mesh tube called a stent is placed within the artery to help keep it open permanently.

Angioplasty is typically performed using local anaesthesia with sedation, meaning you’ll be awake but relaxed during the procedure. Most patients experience minimal discomfort afterwards and can usually go home the same day.

Benefits:

● Improves blood flow to the legs, reducing pain and cramping during activity.

● Minimally invasive procedure with a shorter recovery time compared to surgery.

● Effective in opening blocked arteries and restoring circulation.

Atherectomy: This procedure is used to remove plaque buildup from within the narrowed artery. A specialized catheter with a tiny cutting tool is inserted into the artery and advanced to the blockage.

The cutting tool is then used to remove the plaque deposit, improving blood flow through the artery. Atherectomy is often performed in conjunction with angioplasty and stenting.

Similar to angioplasty, it’s typically done using local anesthesia with sedation and has minimal downtime and pain.

Benefits:

● Effectively removes plaque buildup from blocked arteries.

● May be a good option for patients with complex blockages or those not suitable for stenting.

● Helps to improve blood flow and reduce symptoms of PAD.

Aftercare Tips for Lasting Results

Following treatment for PAD, consistent self-care plays a vital role in managing the condition effectively and preventing future complications.

Here are some key aspects of a post-treatment care plan:

● Medication Adherence: Taking all medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor is crucial. These medications may help lower cholesterol, manage blood pressure, or control diabetes, all of which contribute to maintaining healthy arteries and blood flow.

● Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity is an essential part of PAD management. Exercise helps improve circulation in your legs, reduce pain and cramping during activity, and strengthen your cardiovascular system. It’s important to discuss an appropriate exercise program with your doctor, but walking is often a great option for individuals with PAD.

● Heart-Healthy Diet: Maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is essential for long-term vascular health. Limiting saturated and unhealthy fats, added sugars, and processed foods can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of further arterial plaque buildup.

● Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Management: If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, it’s important to work with your doctor to keep these conditions under control. Chronic high blood pressure and diabetes can damage blood vessels throughout your body, including those in your legs.

● Smoking Cessation: Quitting smoking is one of the single most important steps you can take to improve your vascular health. Smoking damages the lining of your arteries and accelerates plaque buildup. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your risk of future complications from PAD and other cardiovascular diseases.

● Regular Follow-Up Appointments: Scheduling regular follow-up appointments with your doctor allows them to monitor your progress, assess your PAD management plan, and make adjustments as needed. These appointments may involve checking your blood pressure, monitoring your pulse in your legs, and discussing any new symptoms you might be experiencing.

Frequently Asked Questions About PAD

Can PAD be prevented? Yes, through lifestyle modifications like quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and managing weight.

How is PAD diagnosed? Diagnosis involves a physical exam, medical history, and a non-invasive ankle- brachial index (ABI) test. Additional imaging tests may be needed.

What are the long-term effects of PAD? Untreated PAD can lead to complications like critical limb ischemia, stroke, heart attack, and amputation.

Why Choose Integrative Cardiology?

At Integrative Cardiology, we are committed to providing the highest quality vascular care. Our personalized treatment plans, experienced and compassionate team, and focus on long-term health set us apart. We take the time to understand your unique needs and goals, ensuring you receive the best possible care.

Are you ready to Take Charge of Your Vascular Health?

If you suspect you might have PAD or want to learn more about preventing vascular problems, contact Integrative Cardiology today and book your consultation. We offer convenient appointment scheduling and look forward to partnering with you on your journey to optimal health.