Peripheral artery disease, known by its initials PAD is a circulatory condition that inhibits blood flow to the limbs. PAD mostly affects the legs and pelvis. This is a disease that affects approximately eight million Americans. Peripheral artery disease could be a sign of atherosclerosis which is the widespread buildup of fat deposits in the arteries.
Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease
This disease comes with minimum symptoms and sometimes no symptoms at all. Most people however experience intermittent claudication which is characterized by pain while walking, cramping and muscle pain in the legs, arms as well as calf pain.
Other symptoms of peripheral artery disease include sores on the legs, feet and toes which refuse to heal. Color changes in the legs, cold sensations on the lower part of one leg, slow toenail growth, hair loss on the legs, shiny appearance of the skin on the legs, weak or no pulse on the legs or feet and erectile dysfunction in men are other symptoms you may need to be keen on.
In its progressive stage, you could experience pain even while resting or lying down and the pain could be intense to a point of disrupting sleep. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to make an appointment with your doctor. People with diabetes may need to be screened for PAD and those aged 70 are at a high risk as well.
Obesity and smoking are risk factors as well as elevated levels of homocysteine which is a protein that helps in building and maintaining tissue. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are also major risk factors.
Causes of Peripheral Artery Disease
There are various causes of peripheral artery disease and atherosclerosis is one of the major causes. This condition leads to the formation of fat deposits which clog up the arteries and hinder proper flow of blood. Atherosclerosis doesn’t affect the heart only it affects various arteries throughout the body including your limbs. Besides atherosclerosis, injury, inflammation of the blood vessels, exposure to radiation and a usual formation of your muscles and ligaments could be major cause of PAD.
Treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease is treated to manage the symptoms and the progression of the disease. Treatment could be as easy as making various lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking. The medications prescribed with peripheral artery disease are meant to lower cholesterol levels and high blood pressure as well as control blood sugar levels.
Other medications could be prescribed to reduce blood clots, increase blood flow and provide relief from the symptoms. Angioplasty is a treatment that is pursued with PAD and the procedure involves unclogging the arteries with the help of a catheter. Bypass surgery and thrombolytic therapy are viable treatments too. Exercise is an essential part of PAD treatment.
Stem Cell Therapy for Peripheral Artery Disease
Stem cell therapy is proving to be effective in treating peripheral artery disease. Bone marrow derived stem cells could help create new blood cells which could help provide relief for peripheral artery disease.
Although research on this treatment is still being conducted, it has been successful in animal testing in which the animal model showed improved production of new blood vessels in the legs. It’s clear that stem cell treatments could be effective in reducing limb amputation.
Physician First Choice offers stem cell therapy for peripheral arterial disease with US Board Certified stem cell doctors.