Peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) is a widespread disease that affects an estimated 200 million people worldwide. Among other things, it can lead to reduced mobility and cardiovascular problems.
If you are at risk of developing PAD, it is important to understand the symptoms and how treatment can help.
What is PAD?
While peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD) is a vascular disease that can affect any limb, the most common type of PAD usually affects the legs, ankles, and feet.
The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, which occurs when fats, cholesterol, and other debris build up in the walls of the arteries.
Over time, these deposits harden and form into plaque, which restricts blood flow and can even lead to a complete blockage.
Risk factors for PAD are:
- High cholesterol
- Family history of PAD
- Be over 65 years old
- When diagnosing diabetes and other health conditions (e.g. obesity or high blood pressure)
Even if you don't currently have PAD symptoms, you should still see a doctor if you meet the risk factors listed above.
What are the most common symptoms of peripheral arterial disease?
Many people with PAD have no symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease.
For those who do, the most common symptom is pain when walking that subsides at rest, also known as claudication. Some PAD patients may mistake the signs of PAD for natural aging.
As the disease progresses, symptoms become clearer and can no longer be ignored. The most common symptoms of PAOD are:
PAD is a disease that progresses over time if not diagnosed and treated. Talk to your doctor, who can do a physical exam and order tests to help diagnose if necessary.
How to manage PAD
Although peripheral arterial disease is serious, it can be treated. Vascular specialists can recommend several treatment options, including stenting, atherectomy, and angioplasty.
Angioplasty is a minimally invasive treatment in which the doctor inserts a catheter with a small balloon attached through the groin or leg into the affected artery. The balloon inflates, pressing the accumulation of plaque against the walls of the arteries to allow blood to flow more freely.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend an angioplasty with stenting as an alternative. In this procedure, a wire mesh stent is inserted into the artery and left to hold it open.
Your vascular specialist may recommend a non-surgical treatment other than. is known Atherectomy, which uses a dye inserted into the artery through a catheter to locate the buildup of plaque. The catheter contains either a laser or a small blade to remove plaque from the arterial wall.
These procedures can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of PAD by increasing the blood flow. They can also be treated and improved through lifestyle changes as part of a full treatment plan.
These changes can include:
Living with PAD does not mean living with pain. Improved mobility and quality of life can be achieved with the right care.
About the author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health journalist. She is passionate about women's health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology, and nutrition, and provides in-depth coverage of the latest health news for medical clinics and health magazines.