The Basics Of Arterial Peripheral Vascular Disease

The Basics Of Arterial Peripheral Vascular Disease

Are you overweight or a smoker and have begun experiencing intermittent claudication or pain, during ambulation (walking), which subsides after a brief rest period? This pain will feel like a muscle cramp, at the site of the blocked artery. Other signs that are more commonly linked to the disease include;

  • Lower Extremity Hair Loss or Decreased Hair Growth
  • Legs & Feet will be cool to touch
  • Toenails will be slower growing
  • Shiny skin patches on the legs

Over time one will begin to experience loss of sensation, weakness, decrease or lack of pulse in the lower extremities. It is vital that you seek medical treatment for the symptoms in order to prevent further complications.


Arterial peripheral vascular disease is more common in people over the age of seventy, but can often be seen in people under the age of fifty that smoke. Smoking is definitely one of the biggest risk factors of this condition. Smoking is also the most common cause of coronary artery disease, which is one of the most common causes of death in the United States. In turn, coronary artery disease is a risk factor of peripheral artery disease.

What Is Known

Peripheral artery disease is a circulatory problem that is related to the narrowing and blocking of the peripheral arteries, which are found in the lower and upper extremities. Plaque or fatty deposits will form in these arteries and over time will completely block the blood flow to the legs and feet. Radiation exposures, injuries to the legs and feet, inflammation of the blood vessels have also been linked to PAD, but it is less common than atherosclerosis.

Genetic Factors

If you have an immediate family member that has a history of peripheral artery disease, then you are at a higher risk. Your physician will request this information, during the initial interview process, which can help him or her make a more clear diagnosis of the condition.

Blood Tests

A HDL, LDL, and VLDL Assay will be ordered to check the levels of your good and bad cholesterol, as well as your triglyceride levels. This will help determine, whether or not you have high cholesterol. Statin medications may be ordered to help get your LDL and triglyceride levels under control. You will need to see a dietician so that a healthy diet plan can be devised. It is prevalent for your health that you exercise routinely and follow this diet to a tee. This will not cure PA, but it can potentially slow the progression.


A fasting blood sugar test will also be ordered. This will check your blood glucose levels, which can determine, whether or not you have diabetes. Diabetes is a huge risk factor for peripheral artery disease and that is why it is necessary that these tests be performed.

Gangrene and Amputation
If peripheral artery disease is untreated it can lead to necrosis (dead tissue), which is caused from decreased or no blood flow to the body tissue. Gangrene is a bacterial infection that causes necrosis, which cannot be treated appropriately, without amputation. Many people are faced with making the decision to amputate their feet or legs, in order to save their life. By exercising, eating healthy, and smoking cessation, you will be able to life a more productive lifestyle, without diseases.