Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is also known as atherosclerosis, poor circulation, or hardening of the arteries. PAD progresses over time at variable rates in each individual depending on the area of circulation effected and one's health and family history. The signs and symptoms of PAD may not arise until later in life. For many, the outward indications will not appear until the artery has narrowed by 60 percent or more.

One method the body uses to adapt to the narrowed arteries is the development of smaller peripheral arteries that allow blood flow around the narrowed area. This process is known as collateral circulation and may help explain why many can have PAD without feeling any symptoms.

When a piece of cholesterol, calcium or blood clot abruptly breaks from the lining of the artery or a narrowed artery blocks off completely, blood flow will be totally obstructed and the organ supplied by that artery will suffer damage. The organs in PAD most commonly affected and researched are the legs.

What happens if the disease worsens?

The severity of PAD depends on when it is detected and any pre-existing health factors; especially smoking, high cholesterol, heart disease or diabetes. In the later stages, leg circulation may be so poor that pain occurs in the toes and feet during periods of inactivity or rest. This is especially true at night. This is known as rest pain, which usually worsens when the legs are elevated and is often relieved by lowering the legs (due to the effects of gravity on the blood flow).

Critical Limb Ischemia

The most advanced stages of PAD can lead to Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI) . Here the legs and feet have such severe blockage that they do not receive the oxygen rich blood required for growth and repair of painful sores and even gangrene (dead tissue). This condition, if left untreated, may require amputation.

1 comment:

  1. Every healthcare provider should switch to an EMR solution. Paper based records and prescriptions are a thing of the past now and it would be best for both doctors and patients to take advantage of their features and accessibility.

    Medical Billing I Free EMR

    ReplyDelete