Peripheral Arterial Disease – narrowing of the arteries caused by a buildup of arterial plaque – affects 1 in 3 Americans over 65. Sadly, many of these people don’t know that they have PAD, and write off their symptoms (most commonly pain in the legs while walking) as the “normal” signs of aging. PAD isn’t normal. It’s a debilitating condition that, left undiagnosed and untreated, can result in complications that increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, and even death.
Fortunately, thanks to improvements in medical imaging technologies such as ultrasound and the use of the ankle-brachial index (a test that measures the difference between blood pressure at the ankle and the arm), PAD can be easily and painlessly detected these days. If the condition is caught in its early stages, PAD can be successfully treated with medication to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, with lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and getting more exercise, and with dietary changes.
What to do if you are being treated for PAD and you still have leg pain?
Unfortunately, the conservative treatments described above don’t always work sufficiently for everyone who has PAD. So if you have been diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease, you should watch for the following symptoms:
- Continued pain in your legs, not only while walking, but also while resting
- The skin on one leg feels warmer to the touch than the skin on the other
- Wounds or sores on your feet and legs don’t seem to heal properly
- Discoloration of the skin on the legs, feet, or toes, or poor nail growth
These symptoms may indicate that the disease is still progressing, and suggest that you should speak to a specialist to explore other treatment options. Waiting too long can decrease your chances of minimally invasive treatment options that can remove the blockages from your arteries, and thus remove the source of the leg pain and other symptoms.
How do the best interventional radiology doctors in Dallas treat PAD?
The first thing we do with patients who have been referred to us with more serious cases of PAD is to perform a diagnostic angiogram, to look for blockages in the arteries supplying blood to the legs. If they are present, we can perform a number of minimally invasive, non-surgical interventions to open closed arteries and restore proper blood flow.
One procedure commonly used to do this is angioplasty, guiding a tiny catheter through the blood vessels to the affected artery, where a tiny balloon is inflated to flatten the plaque buildup and open the artery. In some cases, stent placement is also performed to hold the artery open once the balloon has been deflated. In other cases, for example when the plaque has become so hardened that balloon angioplasty doesn’t work, a procedure called atherectomy is performed to remove the hardened plaque from the inside of the affected arteries.
If you are interested in learning more about these advanced interventional radiology procedures and how they might help you, have your doctors contact us personally or call us at 469-828-2025 or go online to schedule an appointment. Our talented doctors are helping PAD patients every day!