Peripheral arterial disease – or PAD – has become a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. Rising rates of obesity and diabetes are responsible for the dramatic increase in this disease. When you develop PAD, you do not receive enough blood flow to your legs to keep up with demand.
Symptoms can range from a heavy, sluggish, tired feeling to leg pain/cramping when walking. Many times, the “tiredness” and the pain lead to more inactivity which in turn leads to progressively worse PAD. PAD is likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to your arms, heart, kidney and brain, as well as your legs. For men, this can even be the primary cause for erectile dysfunction, or ED.
Timely and accurate diagnosis often means that you can successfully treat PAD by quitting smoking, getting exercise and eating a healthy diet.
Some patients with diabetes however are not seen early enough or do not equate their symptoms with a circulatory problem in their legs. The patient with diabetes may see changes in their skin (scaly, red) and toenails (yellowed, thickened, cracked) or even have open sores on toes, feet and legs. These are warning signs of serious complications such as severe infection leading to amputation, stroke, heart attack and even death.
If you are over age 50 and have a history of diabetes or history of smoking or if you are under age 50, but have diabetes and other peripheral artery disease risk factors, such as obesity or high blood pressure, you should consult your physician.
SensiLase can help to support detect disease and predict how fast you will heal. SensiLase combines three tests that are non-invasive; all tests involve the use of simple blood pressure cuffs. The first test uses a laser Doppler to assess small blood vessels called capillaries. The second test measures the small changes in blood volume in your feet and legs as your heart beats. This combination of tests is extremely useful and can be performed right in your doctor’s office.