Peripheral Artery Disease – The Real Poor Circulation Disease!

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which blood flow is reduced due to narrowed arteries. There are many causes of the common condition, including inflammation to the blood vessels as well as injury which can result in decreased blood flow to a particular area. However often clogged arteries, a complication of atherosclerosis, is to blame.

Essentially, atherosclerosis refers to the narrowing or hardening of arteries. This condition is characterized by the buildup of plaques or fatty deposits. When these deposits are present, it results in poor circulation because blood is not as easily able to pass through them. Peripheral artery disease occurs when atherosclerosis is present and affects other areas away from the heart, such as the arms and most commonly, the legs.

Atherosclerosis and the often accompanying peripheral artery disease are serious conditions, and can lead to complications like heart attacks and strokes. In addition, a vasospasm can occur. Wikipedia explains that a vasospasm is a constriction of blood vessels which can lead to necrosis or tissue death. Angina and myocardial infarctions are potential complications of a vasospasm, further indicating the seriousness of the condition.

Symptoms related to poor circulation in feet, legs, hands and other parts of the body can go unnoticed for long periods of time. And as such, conditions related to underlying health maladies that cause circulation problems are often referred to as silent killers. This is because unlike diseases that display prominent symptoms, those that are circulatory in nature are often infrequent, mild or easily dismissed due to other factors. One of the most identifiable symptoms of peripheral artery disease is pain or discomfort. Most often, this occurs in the legs, the typical point of exhibition for symptoms related to circulation problems. Symptoms are channeled here most frequently due to the simple force of gravity. Blood circulating in the lower extremities has an uphill battle to fight to make its way back to the heart. When function is impaired, this already difficult feat becomes even more challenging.

Other symptoms of peripheral artery disease include coldness or numbness, according to Mayo Clinic. Similarly to Raynaud’s disease, a condition causing poor circulation in hands, a feeling of coldness can be present in affected areas such as the calf. Additionally, tingling sensations can also be experienced. Typically, these come and go and are often more pronounced during periods of physical activity. And, the severity of these symptoms can vary too, with mild, moderate and severe cases of symptoms occurring intermittently.

Interestingly, there are other subtle signs of peripheral artery disease that should not be ignored either. Silvery or shiny skin on the lower extremities can be a sign of poor circulation in legs and is a symptom of the condition. And, slow growing toenails can also be a sign. A weak pulse or one that is difficult to feel in the legs or feet can also be a symptom of peripheral artery disease.

It is incredibly important that medical care be employed if symptoms of peripheral artery disease are present because they can be a sign of serious underlying health conditions. As some poor circulation causes can be serious or even life threatening health conditions, a medical evaluation is very important at the onset of symptoms. For instance, if atherosclerosis is at hand, medications may be required to treat the condition, which worsens with progression. In other instances, lifestyle changes can be essential to treating and managing the condition. Smoking can be a big contributing factor, and it should be ceased. Dietary changes targeted at reducing fat intake and lowering cholesterol are also important as well as adding in healthy doses of exercise. And, Mayo Clinic also points out that avoiding some over the counter cold medications, which can exacerbate symptoms, is useful in treating the condition as well. But, the first step in treating the disease is to consult with a health care provider to identify the source of the symptoms if applicable, to rule out ominous and potentially very serious underlying conditions. From here, a suitable treatment plan that includes medical care, healthy lifestyle changes as well as the avoidance of triggers that can worsen the condition can be employed to successful manage peripheral artery disease.