Peripheral Arterial Disease

Vascular Access Centers

Vascular Medicine located in Metairie, LA & Covington, LA

Peripheral arterial disease is a common circulatory disease that can cause pain and skin discoloration in your legs, and if left untreated, it can lead to the loss of a limb. The expert physicians at Vascular Access Centers of New Orleans and North Shore are leaders in their field and provide minimally invasive treatment options for adults in Metairie and Covington, Louisiana and the surrounding communities. With effective treatment options for peripheral arterial disease (PAD), there is hope for improving your quality of life. Call the clinic for an appointment or schedule a consultation online to get advanced care for PAD.

Peripheral Arterial Disease Q & A

What is peripheral arterial disease?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common circulatory condition in which the arteries that lead to your arms and legs become narrow or clogged, interfering with normal blood flow to your extremities. In some cases, you may feel pain or discomfort in your legs, but many times, you won’t have any symptoms at all. PAD can also be a sign of atherosclerosis, a condition in which you have an accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries and can be a precursor to serious cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.

What are the symptoms of peripheral arterial disease?

The most common symptom of peripheral arterial disease is leg pain (claudication) when you’re walking, and it often improves with rest. Claudication is a sign that the blood flow to your legs isn’t able to keep up with the demand during activity. Other symptoms of PAD include:

  • Leg pain during activities, but not when you stop activities
  • Numbness, coldness, or tingling in lower legs and feet
  • Ulcers or sores that don’t heal on your legs or feet
  • Erectile dysfunction (men)
  • Leg pain that awakens you
  • Slow-growing leg hair or toenails
  • Weak pulse in your legs or feet
  • Shiny or discolored leg skin

PAD often goes undiagnosed, and if left untreated, it can lead to gangrene or amputation of a limb. The experienced specialists at the Vascular Access Centers of New Orleans and North Shore can provide excellent treatment options for adults who have been identified by their primary care physician as being at high risk for peripheral arterial disease, so you can get relief from painful symptoms.

What are the risk factors for PAD?

The following conditions and behaviors may be putting you at risk for PAD:

  • Obesity
  • A family history of PAD
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking tobacco products
  • Eating a diet high in saturated fat
  • Having diabetes or insulin resistance

Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, and being a nonsmoker significantly lowers your risk of PAD since some of its risk factors are preventable.

How is peripheral arterial disease treated?

Through comprehensive screening and evaluation, the doctors determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and whether they are a sign of arterial stenosis. They may perform ultrasound testing or other non-invasive diagnostic tests to determine if you have compromised blood flow to your lower extremities. Your treatment plan may include lifestyle modifications, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising, and getting contributing medical conditions under control.

Additionally, the doctors may recommend interventional treatments like balloon angioplasty and stenting. During your procedure, they use guided imaging to thread a catheter through an artery in your groin to the blocked artery in your legs. They inflate a medical “balloon” to open the narrowed blood vessel.

The doctors may also place a tiny metal cylinder, called a stent, into your blood vessel to keep it open for increased blood flow. Another option might be to perform atherectomy, where a small device is used in the process of debulking the plaque buildup that is blocking your arterial blood flow.  Atherectomy differs from angioplasty alone by cutting away excess plaque as an extra means of clearing the path for the blood to flow. All of these therapeutic treatments are nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedures that the endovascular physicians perform in the clinic as an outpatient procedure.

Learn about state-of-the-art treatment options for PAD by calling the clinic or scheduling a consultation online. It could save your limb and your life.

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