Computed tomography angiography (CTA) allows providers to see the arteries in your legs and feet. A special dye is injected, and then X-rays are taken to show the location and extent of any blood vessel blockages. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) examines the structure of your leg arteries.
The narrowing of the arteries causes a decrease in blood flow. Symptoms include leg pain, numbness, cold legs or feet and muscle pain in the thighs, calves or feet. The arteries which supply blood to the leg originate from the aorta and iliac vessels.
Atherosclerosis—or clogging—in the peripheral arteries is dangerous. If you have atherosclerosis in your legs, it's almost certainly occurring elsewhere in the body. That's why all patients with PAD, regardless of whether leg pain is present, are at increased short-term risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to your legs. Fatty deposits can build up inside the arteries and block blood flow. A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that keeps the artery open. Angioplasty and stent placement are two ways to open blocked peripheral arteries.
Numbness, weakness, or heaviness in muscles. Pain (described as burning or aching) at rest, commonly in the toes and at night while lying flat. Paleness when the legs are elevated. Reddish-blue discoloration of the extremities.
Persistent or intermittent leg pain (claudication) or cramping when walking. Numbness or loss of sensation in the affected limb. Sores that heal slowly or fail to heal. Differences between limbs in relation to color and/or warmth.
The classic symptom of PAD is pain in the legs with physical activity, such as walking, that gets better after rest. However, up to 4 in 10 people with PAD have no leg pain. Symptoms of pain, aches, or cramps with walking (claudication) can happen in the buttock, hip, thigh, or calf.
Vascular pain often feels like an uncomfortable heaviness or throbbing sensation. It can also feel like an aching sensation. It usually affects your legs and can be worse with walking or exerting yourself.
If left untreated, PAD can result in the need for a major amputation of the foot or leg. This is most concerning because the life expectancy for 60% of PAD amputee patients is only 2 to 5 years.
The survival rate for CAD depends on a variety of factors, including how severe the condition is and how it's treated. However, with timely diagnosis and proper treatment, the majority of people with CAD can live long and productive lives.
The test: Gather a few pillows or cushions and use them to prop up both legs so they're at a 45-degree angle while you lie on your back. As you're resting, notice if your legs become paler or retain their original color throughout the span of a minute.
In addition to chest pain, symptoms of a clogged artery may include: Dizziness. Feeling like your heart is racing (heart palpitations) Nausea.
A CT coronary angiogram can reveal plaque buildup and identify blockages in the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. Prior to the test, a contrast dye is injected into the arm to make the arteries more visible. The test typically takes 30 minutes to complete.
There are no quick fixes for melting away plaque, but people can make key lifestyle changes to stop more of it accumulating and to improve their heart health. In serious cases, medical procedures or surgery can help to remove blockages from within the arteries.
Optimal Vitamin K2 intake is crucial to avoid the calcium plaque buildup of atherosclerosis, thus keeping the risk and rate of calcification as low as possible.
PAD affects 1-in-3 people over 503 who are living with diabetes. For many, untreated PAD can lead to amputations of the lower legs.
Age: PAD usually strikes patients after age 50. Tobacco use: Smoking and chewing tobacco are the biggest contributors to PAD. High blood pressure and high cholesterol: These conditions increase your risk.
Walking is especially good for you
There's no limitation in what a person with peripheral artery disease can do,” Dr. Mohler notes. “But the majority of the clinical trials out there support the benefits of walking. That is why we recommend it for our patients.”
Symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease
The most common symptom of this interrupted blood flow is intermittent claudication – a cramping in the legs and buttocks that flares up when you walk and subsides when you stop.
In a procedure called balloon angioplasty, a catheter is inserted into a leg or arm artery and fed into the blocked peripheral artery. A balloon, connected to the catheter, is expanded to open the artery. Surgeons may then place a wire mesh tube, called a stent, at the area of blockage to keep the artery open.
Some conditions, such as arthritis or vein problems can cause leg pain, but the symptoms are different from those for PAD. A physical exam and your medical history can help your provider rule out these conditions. However, problems with nerves can cause pain that may be confused with PAD.