Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD, is characterized by the buildup of plaque in the arteries that lead to your legs and feet. This causes a partial blockage of blood flow to your legs once plaque buildup occurs. Plaque is made up of substances such as fibrous tissue, calcium, fat, and cholesterol.
Symptoms: The reduced blood flow to your legs and feet can cause pain and numbness. The pain can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms include cramping, change of color in your legs, slow toenail growth, shiny skin, coldness in your legs or feet, and a weakened pulse in your legs or feet. In severe cases, infection or gangrene can occur.
Non-Surgical Treatments: Lifestyle changes are an important part of reducing the effects of peripheral artery disease. Taking steps to quit smoking, lower your blood pressure, lower your blood glucose levels, increase exercise, and eating a diet low in trans fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol may help. Your doctor can help you determine which lifestyle changes you should be making.
Surgery: Peripheral artery disease sometimes requires surgery. The procedure involves a bypass that redirects your blood.