Peripheral Artery Disease

Can I Manage Peripheral Artery Disease On My Own?

Peripheral artery disease measuring for patient ankle-brachial index (ABI) test limb ischemia. Medic hands working with device. Peripheral artery disease, called PAD for short, can be a chronic condition that leads to debilitation if not properly managed. Statistics tell us that about 9 million Americans have peripheral artery disease, making it an important topic of discussion for all adults. At Suffolk Vascular and Vein Center, we provide the most conservative care possible to patients living with peripheral artery disease and also discuss how they may manage their condition on their own when appropriate. 

Understanding Peripheral Artery Disease

PAD is a disease that involves the circulatory system. It occurs when the extremities farthest from the heart, the feet and legs, don’t receive the nutrients and oxygenation needed for adequate function. While we usually see peripheral artery disease in these lower extremities, symptoms may occur elsewhere. One reason that PAD may develop is that the heart does not pump the blood forcefully enough to reach the distal extremities. Another is that the arteries that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the body are coated with arterial plaque. This plaque is formed of cholesterol, fatty deposits, and calcium. 

Factors that can contribute to the onset of peripheral artery disease include:

  • Age. PAD is usually diagnosed in adults over age 50.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • An unhealthy diet that is high in fatty foods.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Smoking.

Symptoms of PAD

The symptoms of PAD may look slightly different in every case. The following may range from mild to severe:

  • Leg pain, usually in the calf area
  • Discoloration of the skin  in the leg or foot
  • Leg cramps while sitting or standing
  • Slower toenail or hair growth
  • Constant coldness, only one leg or foot
  • Open leg sores that fail to heal

Treating Peripheral Artery Disease

Regardless of how mild the symptoms of peripheral artery disease are, they should not be ignored. When an appropriate diagnosis is made, the condition may respond well to conservative care, such as lifestyle modifications. Even if medical intervention is necessary, patients may support optimal results by increasing their physical activity. A 45-minute walk each day is sufficient to boost circulation and potentially ease PAD symptoms. Additionally, patients are encouraged to reduce their intake of fatty foods, sugar, and processed foods and increase the consumption of fresh vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein. Smoking should be strictly avoided. 

We are proud to serve the Hauppauge, Port Jefferson, and Riverhead NY areas. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to discuss treatment options for peripheral artery disease.

Can I Reverse Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral artery disease measuring for patient ankle-brachial index (ABI) test limb ischemia Peripheral arterial disease makes walking and physical activity downright painful. You may find that you’ve become far less mobile as the aches and pains of PAD strike every time you walk. Fortunately, treatments exist for your stage of PAD, even if it has progressed to a severe stage. Consult our experienced vascular doctors to find out what your options are for restoring your quality of life and preventing further complications.

Atherosclerosis – the buildup of plaque in the artery walls – cannot necessarily be reversed. There is a little evidence showing that some people are able to reduce a minimal amount of existing plaque with lifestyle changes and medication, but treatment instead focuses on preventing the condition from worsening and restoring your ability to lead an active lifestyle.

Especially in the early stages of PAD, some combination of the following may alleviate symptoms and improve blood circulation to the abdomen and legs:

  •         Quitting smoking and any other tobacco use
  •         Increasing physical activity
  •         Adopting a regular exercise routine
  •         Improving your diet
  •         Taking prescribed medications
  •         Losing weight
  •         Improving diabetes management

Surgical treatment may be the best route if PAD has progressed. You may be living with daily pain, cramping, and aching in your legs, even after you’ve sat down or are resting. The condition may be increasing your risk for heart attack, stroke, loss of the affected limb, and poor wound healing. Our vascular specialists perform modern surgical PAD interventions, including balloon angioplasty and stent placement. We will make sure you know all of the options available to you given the circumstances of your diagnosis.

If you are searching for experienced vascular specialists in Riverhead, Port Jefferson, Hauppauge, or the nearby areas of New York, please contact Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced vascular doctors. We are here to discuss all of your options for treating and slowing the progression of peripheral artery disease.

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