Peripheral artery disease is a specific type of atherosclerosis i.e. the health condition, which leads to the narrowing of various arteries because of plaque buildup i.e. cholesterol-rich contents. In most cases, doctors refer to the disease as the atherosclerosis of limbs’ arteries.(1)
Plaque buildup in the case of peripheral artery disease takes place at a gradual rate. If you allow it to progress, the flow of blood in the affected arteries limit or block completely.(2)
In some cases, arteries become narrow and fail to carry blood in enough amounts to outer body parts, like your legs and arms. In this situation, doctors refer to the problem as peripheral vascular disease. If you fail to get proper treatment, you may likely suffer from a stroke or heart attack. Besides, depending on your condition, doctors may have to remove your affected limb.(3)
Does Peripheral Artery Disease Start Suddenly?
Most of the people suffering from peripheral artery disease do not experience any symptoms. However, a few of them have a painful ache in the legs while walking.
However, pain, in this case, goes away after the person takes rest for a while. Doctors refer to this condition as intermittent claudication and it occurs suddenly.
Pain in the legs may be mild, medium, or severe and mostly disappears after only a few minutes of your legs’ rest. You may experience the problem in both legs simultaneously. However, the pain may become worse in any one of your legs.
Along with mild to severe type of leg pain, you will experience a few additional symptoms of peripheral artery disease. These are as follows-
- Loss of hair on your feet and legs
- Weakness or numbness in your legs
- Slow growth and brittleness in your toenails
- Open sores or ulcers on the legs and feet, which never heal
- Changing of color on the skin of one’s legs, like turning blue or pale
- Shiny skin
- The problem of erectile dysfunction or impotence in men
- Shrinking of legs muscles
The symptoms of peripheral artery disease develop at a slow rate and with time. If the symptoms develop at a fast rate or become worse, they indicate a severe problem that needs immediate diagnosis and treatment.(4)
How Do You Stop Peripheral Artery Disease From Spreading?
Treatment and prevention steps related to peripheral artery disease consist of certain lifestyle measures and the right medications to reduce the underlying symptoms and avoid the progression of the disease. In severe cases, patients need surgery and related procedures. Accordingly, the treatment options and preventative steps include the following-
- Cessation of smoking cigarettes or tobacco
- If a patient suffers from peripheral artery disease in its mild or moderate form, doctors recommend him/her to perform regular physical exercise.
- If you have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, doctors recommend you following a heart-healthy diet. Accordingly, you should intake food items, which contain low sodium and saturated fat. This step reduces your unhealthy cholesterol levels and controls your blood pressure.
- You should intake certain medications to control your cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Along with this, based on requirements, you should intake other essential drugs, like for instance anti-platelet medications.
- Other than this, you have to undergo surgery and other procedures to open up the blocked blood vessels in severe cases.(1)
As the symptoms related to peripheral artery disease take place either slowly or suddenly, we should say that a person might start suffering from the disease suddenly. However, the positive thing, in this case, is that one can easily stop or at least control the symptoms related to peripheral artery disease to spread by following certain treatment and preventative steps strictly.
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