If you have been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD), you are in the company of about 10 million American adults. Although you have many treatment choices, including surgery, you must be aware at what stage surgery could be the best option for this common vascular condition.
Let’s talk about the causes and symptoms of peripheral artery disease, how you can take charge of this condition, and where you can go in Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch, FL for outstanding treatment.
How Does Peripheral Artery Disease Develop?
Peripheral artery disease is a chronic vascular condition that refers to the harmful accumulation of cholesterol and plaques in the oxygen-carrying blood vessels (arteries) of the legs, arms, kidneys, intestines, and feet. From there, these body areas are robbed of life-sustaining oxygen, leading to muscle and nerve damage.
Common factors contributing to PAD:
- Age (50 and older)
- Lack of exercise
- Obesity, particularly in the abdomen
- Diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
- Family history of PAD and coronary artery disease
- Gender (males are more prone to this condition than females)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reported that people with coronary artery disease (blocked blood vessels that feed the heart muscle) have a one out of three chance of having peripheral artery disease simultaneously, with the following symptoms.
- Pain and cramping in the legs
- Reduced pulses in the feet
- Loss of hair on the legs
- Cool skin temperature in the feet and legs
Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, FL
Recognizing the symptoms and severity of PAD at its early stages may help the primary care physician recommend the best treatment options. When appropriate, the primary care physician may refer you to a vascular surgeon or interventional cardiologist (specialists in vascular procedures).
The physician may recommend a Doppler ultrasound evaluation of the blood vessels in question. Also, magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) uses a special dye injected into the blood vessels to create detailed imaging of circulation problems in the extremities.
Using the diagnostic findings, the vascular physician or interventional cardiologist can determine if cholesterol-lowering drugs and other medications, along with lifestyle changes, could improve peripheral circulation sufficiently. Smoking cessation also helps to deal with PAD.
What Next When Conservative Options Don’t Work?
Surgical intervention addresses the most advanced cases of peripheral artery disease, and some of the most common and successful procedures include:
- Angioplasty, insertion of a catheter through the groin to the blocked artery and opening it with an inflatable balloon
- Stenting, installation of a thin tube into the blocked vessel to open it for improved blood flow
- Blood vessel grafting (also known as bypass grafting), using donor veins or veins from the patient’s own body to bypass the small areas of blockage.
This procedure is not performed by an interventional cardiologist.
- Atherectomy, removal of plaque to improve blood flow
Vascular Surgery in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, FL
If you are suffering from PAD and planning for vascular surgery our board-certified interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeon at Intercoastal Medical Group, can help you improve your overall quality of life and help to avoid major health problems, such as a heart attack, stroke, and loss of limb to amputation.
To consult one of our interventional cardiologists or vascular surgeon, please get a referral from your PCP. If you’re not currently under the care of a PCP, you may schedule an appointment with one of our highly credentialed family physicians or internists, who will gladly coordinate your care. Call us at our office nearest you, or simply use this appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!