Why ABI Tests Are Important for 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. Diagnosis and Treatment
Are you concerned that you’re at risk for 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)? There are steps you can take to protect your health. You can maintain healthy lifestyle habits that may prevent the disease. You can also prevent the more serious complications of PAD through early detection and treatment.
PAD symptoms include:
- Cold toes or feet
- Pain while walking
- Nighttime leg pain
- Painful heavy legs
- Numbness or burning sensations
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Dry, discolored skin
- Gangrene is dead tissue, caused by poor blood flow to part of your body. Gangrene can occur on the skin or in muscles or organs. Peripheral artery disease is a known cause of gangrene. or black tissue
Unfortunately, PAD frequently flies under the radar — as it’s the biggest disease that most people have never heard about. However, there’s a relatively simple diagnostic tool for PAD. The Noninvasive procedures don’t require a cut or incision through the skin. Standard eye exams or X-rays are examples of noninvasive procedures. 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) helps healthcare professionals identify the level of risk for PAD and determine the most effective treatment.
PAD Detection and Treatment
An ABI takes as little as ten minutes. By using a blood pressure cuff, healthcare providers can compare the blood pressure in your ankles with the pressure in your arms. If it’s lower in an ankle than an arm, you may have PAD.
Your physician can determine next steps based on the ABI test results. Nonsurgical treatment options may include lifestyle changes, such as exercise, dietary changes and quitting smoking as well as medical management. Minimally invasive endovascular procedures20 — such as 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., 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). or stents — or arterial bypass surgery may be necessary in more severe cases of PAD.
ABI tests are important because they can lead to treatment that can stop PAD from getting worse. Ignoring symptoms and putting off medical appointments could result in more serious forms of the disease. This form, called Also potentially known as CLI, the most severe and deadly form of peripheral artery disease., can result in To surgically remove all or part of a limb (leg, foot or toe) of a toe, foot or leg.
ABI tests are covered by most insurance plans for patients with PAD symptoms. Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. recently introduced the Amputation Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act. The bipartisan bill would expand coverage for ABI tests and require Medicare, Medicaid and group health insurance plans to fully cover costs for PAD screening tests for at-risk beneficiaries.
For more information
An ABI test is the best first step toward detecting and treating PAD. If you are worried about your or a loved one’s symptoms, insist that your doctor take an ABI.
Early detection of PAD can help relieve symptoms, avoid amputation, save your feet and legs and lead to a better quality of life. Use CSI’s Find a Doctor tool to find a PAD specialist to talk to today.