Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) arises from the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries, resulting in reduced blood flow throughout the body. This condition, known as atherosclerosis, can have significant consequences on overall health and quality of life. Several risk factors contribute to the likelihood of developing PAD, and timely treatment and management are crucial to prevent complications such as blood clots and arterial blockages.
Identifying six warning signs indicating a risk of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD):
Age: While not everyone over 50 develops PAD, reaching this milestone means being attentive to bodily changes. Consult your doctor if you experience leg or foot pain, numbness, or notice skin discoloration in those areas.
Lifestyle: Lifestyle choices significantly influence health risks, including PAD. Avoid tobacco, sedentary habits, and cholesterol-rich foods. Engage in regular exercise to maintain overall health and minimize the risk of peripheral arterial disease.
Family Health History: If your immediate family members have PAD, high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure, you are at an increased risk. Practicing preventative measures and managing these conditions can lower your chances of developing PAD.
Diabetes: Diabetes can affect blood vessels, blood flow, and blood chemistry, potentially leading to leg and foot numbness—an indicator of PAD. Pay careful attention to foot care, cleanliness, and promptly address any wounds or injuries that are slow to heal.
High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure, often influenced by diet, exercise, and stress, may contribute to PAD. Prioritize sufficient sleep, regular exercise, and a nourishing diet to prevent or manage high blood pressure and reduce the risk of PAD. Regular check-ups and monitoring blood pressure are vital, as symptoms may not be apparent.
High Cholesterol: Elevated cholesterol levels can contribute to the development of PAD by narrowing arteries over time. Monitor cholesterol levels through regular check-ups and blood tests. If abnormalities are detected, your doctor may prescribe medication to manage your cholesterol levels effectively.
What Steps Should I Take Now?
If you possess any of these risk factors, it is important to schedule an annual examination with your doctor. Regular check-ins will help monitor your health and detect any potential issues related to circulation. Should you experience any changes in your health that could be linked to circulation problems, do not hesitate to discuss them with your doctor.
For specialized assistance regarding your concerns about PAD, schedule a consultation today with Maryland Vascular Specialists.