Peripheral artery disease

What is Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease, also referred to as PAD, is a common vascular
problem in which narrowed arteries reduce the blood flow to your legs. In
some instances, the blockage will result in symptoms including foot or calf
pain or a wound that won’t heal. If this is the case, it is likely you’ll need a
medical procedure to reopen the blockage; however, in most cases
medical intervention can be avoided through changes to your lifestyle.
These changes include:

  • Not smoking
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Taking medication
  • Good control of diabetes
  • Taking care of your feet.

For more detailed information on PAD, visit the Cleveland Clinic’s page by clicking here.

When a procedure is needed

If symptoms become severe enough that your ability to work and lifestyle are impacted, and less invasive treatments such as exercise and medicine do not work, then surgery or angioplasty and stenting may be
recommended by Dr Cohen. Some of the symptoms that generally warrant a procedure include:

  • Painful cramping in one or both of your hips, thighs, or calf muscles after physical activity
  • Weakness or numbness in your leg
  • Your lower leg or foot becomes cold
  • Sores on your feet or legs that don’t heal.

This list is not exhaustive and other symptoms may indicate a need for intervention. Dr Cohen will discuss any concerns regarding such symptoms with you at your consultation.

Angioplasty and stenting, or surgery

In the more symptomatic cases, Dr Cohen may recommend angioplasty and stenting or surgery as a treatment option. Prior to your appointment with Dr Cohen, you will require a referral from your GP or healthcare provider.

Angioplasty and stenting

This procedure will require a small catheter to be inserted through a blood vessel located in the groin. At the end of the catheter, a small balloon will be deployed which will inflate to reopen the artery and flatten the blockage into the artery wall. Sometimes this will be reinforced with a stent to ensure the artery remains open.

Bypass surgery

This surgery will require a graft bypass to be created using a vessel from another part of your body, usually a vein from the same leg. Dr Cohen will use this graft to bypass around the blockage to allow blood to flow to your leg.

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