What to Expect from Your Peripheral Artery Disease, a potentially life threatening disease where plaque, like calcium, builds up along blood vessel walls, narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow to the legs and feet. Medical Team
Have you noticed new or increased symptoms such as poor circulation, leg pain, cold legs and sores recently?
Too many people dismiss these important signs as mild irritations. Some also worry that physicians won’t take their concerns seriously or, worse, will recommend To surgically remove all or part of a limb (leg, foot or toe). It feels easier to not schedule a doctor appointment.
Early detection is important if you have Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, and other substances in the blood. (PAD). Through tests such as an This is the ratio of the systolic blood pressure (SBP) measured at the ankle to that measured in the arm artery. It is sometimes also called the ankle-arm index. (ABI) and getting the right treatment, you can help stop the disease from getting worse. You might also save a toe or leg from amputation.17
Learning how a team of medical providers will work with you will also make you feel more comfortable going to appointments.
Keep your PAD medical appointments
If you’re experiencing new symptoms, your first step is to meet with your primary care physician (PCP). According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, “If you are older than 50, have (Diabetes mellitus) is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by hyperglycemia resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both., are a smoker or overweight and have leg pain when you walk, it is a good sign to talk to your doctor.” Your PCP’s evaluation will help determine if you need to see a specialist.
Your PAD medical team probably will involve several providers. “Nurse practitioners or physicians will function as a navigator for patients to ensure they go to every appointment,” says Dr. Jason Mendivil, a podiatrist for Pulse Amputation Prevention Centers in El Paso, TX. “It’s important to see every healthcare professional that is recommended to you — from interventional radiologists to podiatrists to vascular surgeons.”
What to expect from a PAD specialist
During your checkup with a PCP, they will determine if you’re at risk for PAD by asking questions about your medical history. They may also perform or request an ABI test. With this test, your doctors can compare the blood pressure in an Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body. of the ankle to the blood pressure in an artery of the arm.
If you need to see a PAD specialist, you may work with a team of clinical care coordinators, podiatrists and wound care specialists, vascular specialists and other healthcare professionals.
- Podiatrist will perform a general physical examination of your feet, especially with diabetic patients. They will also treat and track the healing of open wounds.
- Vascular specialists will examine the blood flow through your entire leg. “Once I get an entire good picture of the entire Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood to your heart and other parts of your body. and circulation of both legs, then we make a decision of what is the best way to treat a patient,” says Dr. M. Laiq Raja, a cardiologist at Pulse Amputation Prevention Centers in El Paso, TX. In minimally invasive surgery, surgeons use a variety of techniques to operate with less injury to the body than with open surgery. In general, it is safer than open surgery and allows you to recover faster and heal with less pain and scarring. This means “inside blood vessels.” To perform endovascular procedures, surgeons use special technologies and instruments. These procedures require only a small incision or puncture in an artery or vein. procedures include In this minimally invasive procedure, a small, hollow tube (catheter) is threaded through a blood vessel to the affected artery. A small balloon on the tip of the catheter is inflated to reopen the artery and flatten the blockage into the artery wall, while at the same time stretching the artery open to increase blood flow., stenting and/or A minimally invasive procedure to open blocked arteries by using a device on the end of a catheter to remove atherosclerotic plaque (a deposit of fat and other substances that accumulate in the lining of the artery wall).. For more serious forms of PAD, doctors may recommend Your doctor will create a graft bypass using a vessel from another part of the body or a blood vessel made of synthetic fabric. This technique allows blood to flow around – or bypass – the blocked or narrowed artery..
Schedule an initial evaluation and keep ongoing medical appointments with your PAD medical team. That way you can have more treatment options and avoid amputation of a toe, foot or leg due to advanced PAD.
For more information
If you or a loved one needs help finding a doctor or getting a second opinion, use CSI’s Find a Doctor tool to help find a PAD expert near you.