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Are peripheral artery disease and atherosclerosis related

Dr Mamata S.H.

Dr Mamata S.H.

  Kalyan nagar, Bengaluru     Apr 24, 2017

   3 min     


What is atherosclerosis?

A disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries is called atherosclerosis. Arteries are blood vessels that transport blood rich in oxygen to your heart and different parts of your body.

Plaque is made up of calcium, fat, cholesterol, and different substances found in the blood. With time, the plaque hardens and it narrows your arteries. This restricts the flow of blood rich in oxygen to your organs and different parts of your body.

Atherosclerosis can lead to critical problems, including stroke, heart attack or even death.

What is peripheral vascular disease?

A disorder in the blood circulation that causes the blood vessels outside of your heart and brain to block, spasm or narrow is called peripheral vascular disease or PVD.

This can happen in your veins or arteries. PVD usually causes fatigue and pain often in your legs, and especially while exercising. The pain usually gets better with rest.

The vessels that supply blood and oxygen to different parts of your body like: kidneys, stomach and intestines and arms can be affected.

What is peripheral artery disease?

The narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the head, stomach, arms and legs and most often in the arteries of the legs is called peripheral artery disease or PAD. PAD is similar to CAD or coronary artery disease.

Both PAD and CAD are a result of atherosclerosis that narrows and blocks arteries in various vital parts of the body.

Quick facts about PAD

The most frequent symptoms of PAD comprising the lower extremities are tiredness in the hip or leg muscles while climbing stairs or walking, cramping or pain. Commonly, this pain returns but again goes away with rest.

The symptoms of PAD are often mistaken for something else by a lot of people. PAD usually goes undiagnosed by a lot of healthcare experts.

The risk of stroke, heart attack or coronary artery disease is higher in people with peripheral arterial disease.

If PAD is not treated it can cause gangrene and also amputation.

Additional risks for PAD

Smoking can increase the risk of PAD

People with diabetes have a high risk of PAD

The risk of PAD is high in people with high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Age is another risk factor.

PAD and Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque develops up in the wall of an artery. Atherosclerosis in the peripheral arteries usually causes PAD (or outer regions at a distance from the heart). Plaque is made up of calcium, fat, cholesterol, and different substances found in the blood. The flow of blood through an artery can be significantly reduced due to large plaque formations. When a plaque becomes inflamed or brittle it may burst, triggering the formation of a blood clot. A clot may either completely block the artery or further narrow it.

There can be difficulty walking, pain, sores or ulcers and changes in skin color, if the blockage remains in the peripheral arteries in the legs.

Total loss of circulation to the feet and legs can lead to gangrene and loss of a limb.

It can cause a stroke, if the blockage occurs in a carotid artery.

It's crucial to study the facts about PAD. As with any disease, the more you know, the more likely you will be able to help your healthcare expert make an early start to treatment with early diagnosis. Many people with PAD never have any symptoms at all, though PAD has common symptoms.

Tags:  health, Physical Activities, Heart diseases, ,

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