Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Tower Wound Care Centers -  - Wound Care Specialist

Tower Wound Care Centers

Wound Care Specialists located in Cedars Sinai Medical Towers, Los Angeles, CA & Encino, CA

When pain in the legs occurs with slow healing wounds, you may have peripheral artery disease, or PAD. For a proper diagnosis and the latest in treatments, visit Tower Wound Care Center at one of three locations in Encino, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles, CA.

Peripheral Arterial Disease Q & A

What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a medical condition which causes the narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the legs, stomach, arms, and head, usually affecting the legs. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis which narrows and blocks the arteries in several crucial areas of the body.

What are the symptoms of PAD?

The most common symptoms of PAD include:

  • lower extremity cramping
  • pain or tiredness in leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs
  • Leg pain which does not go away when exercise is stopped
  • Foot or toe wounds which do not heal or are slow to heal
  • Gangrene
  • A marked decrease in the temperature of the lower leg or foot compared to the other leg

Many people mistake the symptoms of PAD for another issue. Those with peripheral arterial disease will also have a much higher risk of heart attack and stroke. When not treated, PAD can cause gangrene and require amputation. Patients may think the pain is arthritis, sciatica or simply stiffness, however, it could be more serious. Patients should consider the source of the pain. PAD leg pain originates from the muscles, not the joints. Diabetics may confuse PAD pain with a neuropathy, a diabetic symptom which causes burning or discomfort in the feet or thighs. If a person is experiencing any kind of chronic pain, they should talk to the doctor and describe the pain as to the best of their ability.

What treatments are used?

Treatment for PAD works to reduce the symptoms and stop further progression of the condition. Typically, lifestyle changes, increased exercise, and certain medications are enough to stop the disease from progressing and can even reverse the symptoms. Patients will likely be prescribed high blood pressure medications and/or cholesterol medication which work to lower the levels. Taking the medications as recommended by the doctor is extremely important. Not following the directions could increase a person’s risk for PAD in addition to heart attack and stroke. Patients may also be prescribed medications to assist with keeping blood clots from developing. If there's a large portion of an artery in the leg which is totally obstructed and the symptoms are severe, surgery might be necessary.

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