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Doctor insights on: Why Does Untreated Peripheral Arterial Disease Lead To Loss Of Leg

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Why does untreated peripheral arterial disease lead to loss of leg?

Why does untreated peripheral arterial disease lead to loss of leg?

PAD Leg Loss: Without the ability for blood to travel in the arteries to supply oxygen to the tissues of the distal leg, those tissues become at risk for tissue death. With tissue death, there will be loss of limb. ...Read more

Dr. Neigatha Graney
1 Doctor shared a insight

Artery (Definition)

Arteries are defined as blood vessels which carry blood away from the heart (to either the body or lungs). Arteries: higher pressure, thicker walls, stretch (pulse) with each heart contraction & deliver blood to the arterioles which control the flow to individual capillaries. Veins are blood vessels which carry blood from capillaries back to the heart (body to right heart; ...Read more


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Do you have to amputate your legs if you have untreated peripheral arterial disease?

Do you have to amputate your legs if you have untreated peripheral arterial disease?

Possibility: If tissue dies or severely infected, amputation can be life-saving. In completely uncontrolled pad, it is very, very common, especially if uncontrolled diabetes and tobacco use. To treat, stop smoking, control diabetes. May be given blood thinners or blood vessel dilators. Artery bypass may be also recommended. See a vascular surgeon for treatment options. ...Read more

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Is it possible if I have high blood pressure I could have developed peripheral arterial disease undetected and could this lead to an ankle fx nonunion?

Is it possible if I have high blood pressure I could have developed peripheral arterial disease undetected and could this lead to an ankle fx nonunion?

Yes: High blood pressure is a risk factor for peripheral vascular disease. Also, peripheral vascular disease is a potential cause of fracture nonunion. However, it is only one of many potential causes. ...Read more

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Does peripheral arterial disease always start in the legs?

Does peripheral arterial disease always start in the legs?

Not always: Pad can technically refer to any arterial disease outside the aorta or coronary vasculature. It is frequently in the legs, but also commonly in the carotid arteries, and sometimes in the arteries of the arms or stomach organs. The last two are rarer. Pad is important because the underlying process that causes arterial blockages is essentially the same no matter which arteries are involved. ...Read more

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How deadly is leg bypass surgery due to peripheral arterial disease?

How deadly is leg bypass surgery due to peripheral arterial disease?

Small risk: As with all surgery, there is some risk. Your exact risk will depend on your comorbidities. ...Read more

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Can peripheral arterial disease stop hurting my leg for a certain period of time?

PAD is a range: Many people have pad but it doesn't always produce symptoms. At its earliest stages pad can cause a cramping or tightness of the legs with walking, and this is called "intermittent claudication." when you rest the cramping/tightness usually goes away. At more advanced stages of pad symptoms can be present all the time, and this is called "ischemic rest pain." this is present regardless of activity. ...Read more

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How risky is leg bypass surgery due to peripheral arterial disease?

Risk vs Benefit: There is risk with all surgeries even those done with wires manipulated through the arteries (angiography/angioplasty). In experienced hands, these risks are minimal. However, pad if untreated can lead to severe pain, open ischemic ulcers, gangrene and loss of your limb. Given the choice, if you are having symptoms, then treatment is safer than waiting. ...Read more

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How dangerous can leg bypass surgery be due to peripheral arterial disease?

PVD: Patients who need arterial bypass for PVD usually have coronary artery disease, hypertension and often diabetes. This combination or individually raises the risk of any surgery. When we do PVD surgery it is usually because a limb is threatened, saving a limb is a pretty prominent benefit in most people's risk/benefit equation. ...Read more

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Can you get pad (peripheral arterial disease) at age 20?

Can you get pad (peripheral arterial disease) at age 20?

Symptoms are rare: As dr. Wyffels said, autopsies on soldiers in viet nam showed early evidence of pad in young men as early as their 20's but having symptoms from pad when you are 20 would be exceedingly rare. ...Read more

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At what age are you more likely to get peripheral arterial disease?

At what age are you more likely to get peripheral arterial disease?

50's: There is different causes of pad and onset of symptoms are different. Most common is atherosclerosis and this start early in life but usually start to manifest with symptoms around the 50's, although some patient can have that even in early 30's. ...Read more

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Which tests are usually carried out to confirm peripheral arterial disease?

Leg pressures: Non-invasive studies that measure your blood pressure in different locations of the leg are a great way to confirm peripheral artery disease. The blood pressures in the thigh, calf, ankle, and toes are measured along with special waveform tracing gives the best functional information about your disease. No other test (including angio or ultrasound) gives more functional information than this test. ...Read more

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Which tests are usually carried out to confirm peripheral arterial disease?

Exam and ABI: Peripheral artery disease or pad is usually diagnosed by a combination physicial examination and and simple test called ankle brachial index or abi. ...Read more

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Is there a difference between peripheral arterial disease and peripheral venous disease?

Is there a difference between peripheral arterial disease and peripheral venous disease?

Yes: They are completely different. Venous disease is somewhat genetic, but if people lived long enough almost everyone would probably get venous disease at some point in their life. In fact 15% of the adult population has venous disease. Arterial disease, in contrast, is not as common in the general population. It occurs in smokers, diabetics, and in people with high blood pressure and cholesterol. ...Read more

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What is the difference between peripheral arterial disease and peripheral venous disease?

What is the difference between peripheral arterial disease and peripheral venous disease?

Artery vs vein: Think of one (Periph artery disease) as problems with the vessels in charge of delivering blood, oxygen. and nutrients to the tissues and the other (peripheral venous disease) as problems with the vessels in charge of returning that blood to the heart. ...Read more

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Does peripheral arterial disease only affect old people?

Worse with age: Peripheral arterial disease is when the arteries (the vessels that carry the healthy, oxygenated blood to the tissues), become compromised (narrowed, blocked) and the tissues get less blood flow. This worsens with age due to the cumulative effects of the many factors that affect us (cholesterol, smoking, obesity, lack of activity). As we get older, these get worse and affect us more and more. ...Read more

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Can claudication be a possible symptom of peripheral arterial disease?

Can claudication be a possible symptom of peripheral arterial disease?

A principal symptom: Claudication, or the tensing up of the calf muscles during walking, is the main symptom of peripheral arterial disease. It is caused by blockages in the arteries that give blood supply to the calf muscles. Claudication may be called "intermittent" because it goes away when one stops walking and may recur on resuming walking -unlike spinal stenosis which causes rest pain down the legs. ...Read more

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What are some treatments for peripheral arterial disease?

Lots of Choices: Usually, initial treatments are conservative, exercise, cessation of smoking, medicines to make the blood flow better and to reduce cholesterol. More aggressive is to open blockages with balloons or stents. Finally, surgery to bypass around the blockages or directly clean out the blocked artery is sometimes needed. ...Read more

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Are there treatment options for peripheral arterial disease?

Are there treatment options for peripheral arterial disease?

Treat symptoms: The mere presence of narrowing or compromise of blood flow in arteries is not a reason for treatment unless there are symptoms. Ulcers, pain, gangrene are symptoms that in the presence of pad need to be treated. Just because there is narrowing of the arteries without symptoms, does not warrant any treatment. Prevention by not smoking, blood sugar and cholesterol control and excercise will help. ...Read more

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Is peripheral arterial disease life threatening? Is it curable?

Possibly: Although disease of the arteries of the legs is seldom life threatening untonitself, it is often a marker of more diffuse atherosclerotic disease including carotid disease and coronary heart disease. Therefore, strokes and heart attacks can manifest in many patients with pad. ...Read more

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Is there a cure for peripheral arterial disease? What are the treatments available now?

Is there a cure for peripheral arterial disease? What are the treatments available now?

No cure but...: Treatment always starts with risk factor management. Smoking cessation, lipid control, BP control, exercise, wt loss. Balloon angioplasty, stenting, athrectomy, direct removal of plaque (endarterectomy) and bypass surgery are all possible treatments depending on symptoms. Vascular surgeons provide all of these and so are uniquely qualified to manage patients with pad in an unbiased manner. ...Read more

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How could a young person get diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease?

Youthful PAD: The simplest test is to use a doppler and check blood pressures in the arms and ankles and compare. Pad will make them different. Signs and symptoms can include cold feet, bluish toes, pain in the calves with walking, ulcers of the feet and toes and gangrenous changes of the feet. Many diseases can mimic these symptoms so a vascular or wound specialist is needed. ...Read more

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What is the youngest age a person can be diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease?

Yes: While uncommon people as young as 20 may have peripheral arterial disease, though this is usually the result of a number of vasculitidies such as takayasu's arteritis or berger's disease. More commonly pad is found in people over the age of 50, and quite prevalent in those over age 70. Smoking is the biggest risk factor in developing pad, conferring a 16x higher risk than a non-smoker. Don't smoke. ...Read more

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How do cigarettes cause peripheral arterial disease?

How do cigarettes cause peripheral arterial disease?

Bad stuff: The key ingredient in cigarettes is nicotine. Our arteries have a muscular lining that can relax to increase flow and "squeeze" to reduce flow. Nicotine causes the lining to squeeze down and also causes damage to the lining which causes inflammation. Hard calcium is deposited which further narrows the vessels permanently reducing blood flow. This occurs in every artery when you smoke! ...Read more

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Can there be any hope for peripheral arterial disease?

Lots: Most patients with peripheral arterial disease (pad) do relatively well. Lowering your cholesterol, stopping smoking, a walking program, and stopping smoking (mentioned twice because its that important) may stabilize symptoms if not improve them. Some (not most) patients require more invasive treatment either by angioplasty or surgery. Treatment options are continuing to improve. ...Read more

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Is peripheral arterial disease always life threatening?

Is peripheral arterial disease always life threatening?

Not always: PAD is typically not life threatening. Can cause pain when walking or pain at rest. However if the pain becomes severe or if there is significant skin discoloration or development of ulcers this can progress to more severe complications such as amputation if not treated. ...Read more

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Can a 20 year old get peripheral arterial disease (pad)?

Youthful PAD: Pad occurs when there is a narrowing of the arteries. While there are many causes, the most common is a build up of calcified plaque which takes years to occur and is most commonly associated with cigarette smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes among other things. It is extremely rare for these to occur in the young. ...Read more

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How can atherectomy deal with severe peripheral arterial disease?

How can atherectomy deal with severe peripheral arterial disease?

Improves circulation: atherectomy is plaque removal. If successful, it should reduce blockage and improve blood flow. This will reduce pain. ...Read more

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Please let me know if there is a cure for peripheral arterial disease?

Please let me know if there is a cure for peripheral arterial disease?

No cure: There is no cure but it is treatable with balloons, surgery, and medications. ...Read more

Dr. Bradley Thomas
380 Doctors shared insights

Peripheral Arterial Disease (Definition)

PEripheral arterial disease refers generally to the arterial supply to the extremities and can involve vessels of any size. Diseases like diabetes tend to affect the small arterial vessels while atherosclerosis from high cholesterol, hypertension, or smoking to name a few can affect vessels if any size. The concern is inadequate blood and oxygen to ...Read more