In our earlier article about Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), we explained that it is caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a buildup of plaque that narrows and blocks the arteries. This condition reduces blood flow to the extremities, and can cause cramping leg pain in the legs.
Left untreated, PAD can become dangerous for anyone who has been diagnosed as having it. PAD increases their risk of heart attack and stroke. But PAD is even more dangerous for people who have diabetes.
PAD and diabetes
Peripheral Arterial Disease is sadly very common in America – 1 in 20 people over 50 have it. But it is even more common in diabetics. 1 in 3 people over 50 with diabetes are likely to have PAD. This is because diabetics have a much higher risk of developing atherosclerosis. This statistic suggests that diabetes is a major risk factor for Peripheral Arterial Disease. Other risk factors include obesity, inactivity, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking.
What to be wary of if you have both PAD and diabetes
The combination of these two conditions is particularly problematic. The plaque deposits commonly block the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet. The resulting circulation problems can lead to pain, especially when walking, and to other symptoms.
For example, PAD can lead to corns, callouses, or open sores on the legs and feet that are slow to heal. If you have diabetes and notice such sores, you should not ignore them, and you should not try to treat them yourself. Instead, you should see your doctor and follow his or her advice. Left untreated, these sores can develop gangrene, which sometimes requires amputation.
At MTV IR, we are experts in treating Peripheral Arterial Disease
Sometimes the blockages from PAD have become serious enough to cause severe pain. When this happens, often the best treatment option is minimally-invasive interventional radiology (IR) procedures. These procedures open the closed arteries and restore proper blood flow. One procedure is angioplasty, in which a tiny catheter is inserted into the affected artery. Then a tiny balloon is inflated to flatten the plaque buildup and open the artery up.
It is possible that the arterial plaque has hardened to the point that it does not respond well to balloon angioplasty. In this case, a more aggressive procedure called atherectomy is used to shave the plaque from the inside of the arteries and remove it.
These IR procedures are a natural match for the talents of MTV IR doctors. We have become widely known as the best interventional radiology doctors in Dallas. If you have been diagnosed with PAD, have your doctors contact us, or give us a call yourself at 469-447-4008 or go online to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about the most advanced treatment options.