Understanding Peripheral Artery Disease


Some cardiovascular issues show up in areas of the body other than the heart. In particular, individuals with peripheral artery disease typically experience pain in their legs rather than their chest. Cardiologists caution patients who may have this condition to see a heart doctor as soon as possible. What begins as peripheral artery disease can evolve into a more serious problem, such as heart attack.

Why does peripheral artery disease occur?
The arteries must be clear and flexible to properly push blood through the cardiovascular system. If they clog with fatty deposits, they can lose the ability to easily transport blood. Peripheral artery disease is a clogging of the arteries in the extremities . This fatty deposit buildup may be due to any number of factors. A diet that is high in cholesterol, inactivity, obesity, and smoking can all contribute to the onset of peripheral artery disease.

How does peripheral artery disease present?
At first, peripheral artery disease may begin as discomfort in the legs during exertion. For instance, walking with bags of groceries to a car may prompt searing pain in the thighs or calves. This discomfort can progress in intensity or frequency. Some individuals with peripheral artery disease may even experience pain when watching television or sleeping.

What treatments can alleviate peripheral artery disease?
Medication is a common treatment option for the management of peripheral artery disease. A heart doctor might also recommend alternate lifestyle habits to reduce symptoms or the risk of more serious complications. Losing weight, engaging in regular activity, and stopping tobacco usage can significantly reduce the effects of peripheral artery disease. More extensive cases might require invasive treatment such as the administration of an angiogram or drug injection at the blockage site.

Are you noticing leg cramps or discomfort when you walk? This may be the first indication of peripheral artery disease. To determine if you have this condition, call Cardiac Solutions at (623) 876-8816 for an appointment . Our four heart clinics offer effective cardiology care for the Glendale, Peoria, Sun City West, and Avondale areas.


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