Vascular disease includes numerous health conditions that affect the arteries and veins throughout your body. These include:
Peripheral vascular disease develops in blood vessels throughout your body, but it most often occurs in your legs and feet, where it’s called peripheral artery disease.
Atherosclerosis causes peripheral artery disease (PAD). It develops as cholesterol sticks to your artery walls, then mixes with other substances and hardens into plaque. As a result, your arterial wall also hardens and, as plaque builds up, your blood flow is blocked.
Arteries carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from your heart throughout your body. When atherosclerosis blocks the flow of these vital substances, tissues in your legs become damaged, and symptoms develop.
About half of all people with PAD don’t experience symptoms until the artery has narrowed by 60% or more. The possible symptoms include:
Intermittent claudication — usually the first symptom caused by peripheral artery disease — consists of discomfort, pain, and cramping that occurs when you’re active. The symptoms go away with rest, then return when you resume activity. You’ll probably notice pain in your calves, but it can also be in your thighs or buttocks.
The pain may be so severe that you can't walk. Intermittent claudication can also cause numbness, weakness, or a feeling of heaviness in your leg muscles. These feelings are also relieved when you rest.
Dr. Jindal begins by reviewing your medical history and performing a thorough physical examination. After evaluating symptoms like leg cramping and pain, he may recommend one or more diagnostic tests to accurately diagnose whether you have PAD and the extent of the blockage.
Diagnostic testing for peripheral artery disease includes:
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