What you should know about Peripheral Arterial Disease
What is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?
PAD is a blood circulation disorder, triggered by narrowed or blocked blood vessels supplying the limbs.
What are risk factors of PAD?
Risk factors for PAD include diabetes mellitus, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
The build up of plaque in blood vessels limits the blood flow to the patient’s leg. This leads to pain and/or fatigue, especially when patients are exercising. In severe cases, patients may also suffer from poor healing of wounds in the foot/toe or even gangrene, which may lead to limb loss.
How can I reduce the risk of PAD, or treat PAD?
Lifestyle modifications like smoking cessation, good control of blood sugar in diabetic patients and regular exercise can improved PAD’s symptoms. Most patients with PAD require life-long medication like aspirin (blood thinners) and statin (for high cholesterol).
In severe cases, patient may have non-healing foot wounds or rest pain. The doctor may offer to perform an angioplasty (ballooning) to optimise the blood flow. An angioplasty is a day procedure where the doctor deploys a small balloon to open up the narrow segment of the blood vessel hence improving the blood flow to the foot.
Bypass surgery is an option for patients that are unsuitable for angioplasty.