Peripheral Artery Disease is a condition that affects approximately 9 million Americans and is defined as a narrowing of the peripheral arteries due to a build-up of plaque known as Atherosclerosis. This narrowing impedes blood flow to the limbs causing leg pain while exercising and can limit the body’s ability to heal.
Peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. This condition is called atherosclerosis. Over time, this build up can restrict blood flow, especially to the extremities.
Those with PAD may experience numbness or cold in the limbs or digits, or pain in the leg (commonly the calf) during exercise that may fade upon rest. In extreme cases, the limitation of blood flow can disrupt the healing of wounds causing gangrene and potentially amputation.
PAD is diagnosed by physical examination. The physician will look for skin discoloration, feel for temperature differences, and weakened pulses in the periphery. Beyond the physical examination the primary method for diagnosing PAD is the Ankle Brachial Index exam. This test is a non-invasive painless test that measures systolic blood pressures in the arms and legs. This is an easy and affordable exam that can be performed in an office or lab setting.