Peak Heart & Vascular
Multispecialty Cardiovascular Group located in Laveen, Surprise, Avondale, Phoenix, and Flagstaff, AZ
When you experience narrowing or blockage of the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the limbs, you have peripheral artery disease (PAD). The condition far more commonly affects the arteries in your legs. The skilled team at Peak Heart & Vascular in Laveen, Surprise, Avondale, Flagstaff, or Phoenix, Arizona, helps you manage the condition and open clogged vessels to prevent serious complications like gangrene and amputation. To schedule an appointment, call the offices or book online for help maintaining a high quality of life with peripheral artery disease.
What is peripheral artery disease?
Arteries carry fresh blood from your heart to tissues throughout your body. When these arteries become clogged with cholesterol or other fats, blood can’t get to tissue expediently. These clogs are more likely to happen if you have artery wall damage due to an issue like hypertension or diabetes.
With time, calcium and other substances build-up along with the fat making the plaque harden, narrowing the artery even further, and creating more restrictions on blood flow. When these narrowed arteries restrict blood flow to your limbs, you have peripheral artery disease or PAD.
What symptoms develop due to peripheral artery disease?
Peripheral artery disease can develop in just about any artery but is most common in the legs. The most common symptoms include:
- Leg pain when walking that feels better at rest (claudication)
- Leg fatigue or heaviness
- Muscle cramps
- Leg numbness
- Skin rashes
- Non-healing leg wounds
- Reddish-brown skin
- Hair loss or slow hair growth on legs
If peripheral artery disease is left untreated, the lack of oxygen-rich blood flowing to your tissues causes critical limb ischemia. With blood flows nutrients and oxygen and when denied, tissues deteriorate. Serious infections and even gangrene can develop.
How is peripheral artery disease treated?
Your treatment for peripheral artery disease begins with a review of your health history and current symptoms and health markers. Peak Heart & Vascular also starts implementing therapies that can slow down the progression of atherosclerosis. These treatments include lifestyle changes and medications to help with conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol that aggravate atherosclerosis.
You may also undergo a procedure to reopen any severely clogged arteries. Most people are good candidates for one of the following minimally invasive procedures, but in serious cases, you may need surgery.
Balloon angioplasty and stenting
During balloon angioplasty and stenting, your provider from Peak Heart & Vascular makes a tiny incision in the affected area and inserts a catheter into the blood vessel. Real-time X-ray imaging provides guidance to thread the catheter to the site of the blockage.
Once the catheter reaches the blockage, your doctor inflates a balloon that pushes the plaque back against the artery wall. As a result, it restores blood flow. Depending on your case and risk factors, your doctor may also insert a mesh stent inside the artery to hold it open and prevent future plaques from collecting.
This technique breaks down kidney stones but is now approved for use to treat peripheral artery disease. Your doctor uses pulsatile sonic pressure waves to pass through soft tissue and break down the plaques, so blood flows more freely.
In some cases, a plaque is too hard for success with balloon angioplasty. In these cases, your doctor may perform an atherectomy. They insert a catheter with a device to shave away the plaque in the clogged area. In some cases, they may use a laser to vaporize the blockage.
If you do have persistent wounds due to peripheral artery disease, Peak Heart & Vascular enlists an entire team to help with wound care that includes infectious disease specialists and podiatrists as needed.
If you have signs of peripheral artery disease, seek treatment from the specialists at Peak Heart & Vascular. Call today for a consultation or use the online tool to schedule.