Peripheral Artery Disease is the hardening of arteries in the arms and legs due to plaque build up. PAD is one of the most prevalent diseases treated here at Cardiovascular Labs of America, but many people that suffer from it don’t even realize they have the disease.
In order to help you identify the symptoms, here are the Top 10 signs that you may be suffering from PAD. If you recognize a few of these, please schedule an appointment with us immediately so that you can get the treatment you need.
1.) The first sign of PAD is painful cramping in your hip, thigh or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs (claudication).
CLA’s Dr. Sunjay Wagle has this to say: “Our body is incredibly intelligent. We need to listen to our legs. If you have leg pain when you walk but it gets better when you rest, you need to have a conversation with your physician. If you have heavy legs or have charlie horses that are not getting better, this is a serious warning sign.”
2.) If you are experiencing numbness or weakness you may have PAD. In addition to painful cramps, your legs may feel weak, even in the soles of your feet, or while resting.
3.) Furthermore, pay attention to “skinny skin” on your legs; or a sensation that could be described as your skin feeling “paper thin” or weak.
4.) PAD can also cause slower toenail growth. If you haven’t had to clip your toenails in an abnormally long time period, you may have PAD.
5.) Be cognizant of sores on your toes, feet or legs that won’t heal. Healthy blood flow helps the body grow and heal. If you have a sore or an ulcer on your legs or feet that just won’t go away, this could be a sign of constricted arteries. If left untreated for long enough, these sores could lead to gangrene or even amputation.
6.) Don’t ignore a change in the color of your legs, most notably a blueish color, especially if one of your legs is a significantly different shade than the other. This could be a sign that not enough oxygen or nutrients are making it to the lower limbs.
7.) Check your feet and ankles to ensure a pulse in your leg. You can find your pulse in your legs by pressing your hand against the back of your knee, or by feeling the lower-inside of your foots arch.
8.) Although not for women, Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of PAD in men.
9.) Assess your temperature for coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side. Again, if one of your legs appears or feels different than the other, that abnormality may be attributed to those arteries being constricted.
10.) Relay hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs to your physician. Just like toenails, hair relies on strong blood flow for the oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow. If your leg hair is growing slower or falling off, it could be a symptom of Peripheral Artery Disease.
If you suffer from any combination of these symptoms, don’t be afraid to see a doctor immediately. The Cardiovascular Labs of America are prepared with a variety of treatments for PAD, and will work together with you to find the best treatment for your situation.
For more information on what causes Peripheral Artery Disease, and if you might be at risk, check out our blog post on The Causes of PAD.