When you develop peripheral artery disease (PAD), your extremities — usually your legs — don't receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand.
Peripheral artery disease symptoms include
- Painful cramping in your hip, thigh or calf muscles after activity, such as walking or climbing stairs (intermittent claudication)
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side
- Sores on your toes, feet or legs that won't heal
- A change in the color of your legs
- Hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs
- Slower growth of your toenails
- Shiny skin on your legs
- No pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
Peripheral artery disease is often caused by atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, fatty deposits (plaques) build up in your artery walls and reduce blood flow.
- Increasing age, especially after reaching 50 years of age
- A family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease or stroke
Types of angioplasty
The types of angioplasty procedures include:
- Atherectomy involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in your groin or arm. Your doctor passes the catheter into the diseased artery using a guide wire. The plaque is scraped or drilled away with special catheter tools.
- Balloon angioplasty is a similar procedure. It involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in your groin or arm. Your doctor passes the catheter into the diseased artery using a guide wire. Your doctor then expands a balloon on the tip of the catheter wire to open the artery.
- Laser angioplasty also involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in your groin or arm. Your doctor passes the catheter into the diseased artery using a guide wire. A laser on the catheter tip destroys the plaque and opens the artery.
What you can do?
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking, and include dosage information.
- Write down questions to ask Dr. Antezana
Medications to prevent blood clots- Because peripheral artery disease is related to reduced blood flow to your limbs, it's important to reduce your risk of blood clots. A blood clot can completely block an already narrowed blood vessel and cause tissue death. Dr. Antezana may prescribe daily aspirin therapy or another medication that helps prevent blood clots, such as clopidogrel (Plavix).