In most cases, peripheral artery disease affects the arteries located in the legs. PAD is often caused by a buildup of fat deposits in the arteries. Dr. Eugene Tanquilut in Tinley Park uses the latest technology to unblock the clogged vessels, preventing some complications such as gangrene, non-healing wounds, and amputations. With the help of vascular specialists, you can walk again, maintain a better quality of life, and stay active.
What is peripheral artery disease (PAD)?
PAD, also known as peripheral vascular disease, is the hardening of the arteries and is a disorder that occurs in the arteries of the circulatory system. Arteries carry nutrient-rich blood and oxygen from the heart to all parts of the body. PAD occurs in the arteries carrying blood to the legs and arms.
Healthy arteries have smooth linings which promote steady blood flow and prevent blood from clotting. In PAD, arteries are blocked and narrowed when plaque forms in the artery walls. Plaque is made of cholesterol and other floating substances through the bloodstream, such as proteins, inflammatory cells, and calcium.
Diagnosis of peripheral artery disease (PAD)
During a physical exam, the doctor finds a PAD sign, such as absent or weak pulse, whooshing sounds over your artery that can be heard with a stethoscope, decreased blood pressure in the affected part, and poor wound healing where blood flow is restricted.
Ankle-brachial index (ABI)
This is a test performed to diagnose PAD. It compares the blood pressure in the ankle with blood pressure in the arm. The doctor uses a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound device to gauge blood pressure and flow to obtain a blood pressure reading. You can take readings before and after an exercise to determine how severe the narrowed arteries are while walking.
This test uses a dye injected into the blood vessels, which allows the doctors to view your blood flow through the arteries as it happens. The doctor can trace the dye flow using imaging techniques like magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), X-rays, or computerized tomography angiography.
Catheter angiography involves guiding a catheter through the groin to the affected part and injecting the dye. This procedure allows the doctor to treat the blocked blood vessels during diagnosis.
Treating peripheral artery disease has two goals:
Stop the spreading of atherosclerosis to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, and manage symptoms so that you can resume your daily activities.
You can accomplish these goals by changing your lifestyle, especially during the early stage of peripheral artery disease. If you smoke, the best option is to quit to reduce the risk of complications. Doing exercises or walking regularly can improve your symptoms.
If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, you might need additional treatment. The doctor can prescribe medicine to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent blood clots, and control pain and other symptoms.
Peripheral artery disease increases the risk of stroke and heart attack, so it must be diagnosed early. Treatment depends on a range of factors, but changing your lifestyle improves your outlook significantly. Medications and lifestyle changes can manage some cases of peripheral artery disease.