Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease services offered in Fort Collins, CO

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition affecting the blood circulation in your legs. It can lead to severe complications — including amputation — if left untreated. If you have symptoms of PAD or any other leg problems, Shawn Ahmed, MD, PhD, at Apex Endovascular can help. He has considerable experience diagnosing and treating PAD at his Fort Collins, Colorado, office. Call the practice nearest you today or book an appointment online.

What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that affects the arteries supplying blood from your heart to the farthest parts of your body, particularly your legs. These arteries sometimes start to narrow or get blocked because of a buildup of fatty deposits called plaque. 

The plaque sticks to the artery walls, hardening them and reducing the flow of blood. This is the same problem that causes heart disease, although in that case, it’s usually known as atherosclerosis.

What causes PAD?

The plaque that causes PAD can build up for a number of reasons, including:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Having cardiovascular disease

You’re also more likely to develop PAD if there’s a history of atherosclerosis in your family.

What are the symptoms of PAD?

In many cases, PAD doesn’t cause any apparent symptoms, meaning people don’t know they have the condition until they develop complications.

When you start to experience symptoms, the first is likely to be claudication, which causes pain and cramps in the hips, thighs, or calves when you walk or climb stairs. Other symptoms of PAD that affect your legs might include:

  • Numbness or weakness
  • Coldness in your lower limb
  • Sores that don't heal
  • Skin discoloration
  • Slower hair growth or hair loss
  • Slow toenail growth
  • Shiny skin
  • Erectile dysfunction

Left untreated, the plaque can form clots that block blood flow altogether. This stage of the disease causes critical limb ischemia (CLI), where you have leg pain that’s severe enough to wake you up at night. 

If this happens, you need urgent medical attention to restore the blood supply to your leg. Otherwise, you might develop gangrene. Gangrene is dead tissue that must be removed quickly, or you could lose your leg.

How is PAD Treated?

Dr. Ahmed can help you make lifestyle changes to improve your vein health and might recommend you take medication for PAD. Your treatment program could include:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Healthy diet
  • Supervised walking program
  • Reduce bodyweight
  • Medications to widen blood vessels
  • Blood-thinning medicines

It’s essential that any underlying health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes also receive treatment.

If you’re concerned about pain in your legs, find out what’s causing it and receive the best available treatments by calling Apex Endovascular today or booking your appointment using the online tool.