Disease conditions caused by blockade in the arteries supplying limbs and other vital organs like brain, kidneys and intestines are called peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD mostly affects lower limbs.

In early stages of the disease, that is when artery is partially blocked it would cause pain in your legs while you walk, but in late stages it could give rise to a non-healing ulcer in the foot, Blackish discoloration of your toes or would cause severe pain even at rest more so at night.

If you are a Diabetic with PAD then there is a 25% risk of a major amputation and in patients who are non-diabetic risk of a major amputation is 5%.

If you are a diabetic it is advised after the age of 50, you should have an annual screening to rule out any Peripheral Vascular Disease. If you have any symptoms like aching in your legs, Discoloration of your toes, Coldness of your feet of any ulcer that does not heal it is advisable that you should seek an expert opinion to rule out any serious PAD in your lower limbs.

Apart from basic blood tests you would be seen by a vascular technician in the vascular lab. In the lab you would be subjected to a small test to assess any decrease in blood flow to your foot by checking the blood pressure in your legs which is called Ankle Brachial Pressure Index (ABI). Then you may be advised to undergo an ultrasound scan of your blood vessels by a radiologist to look for any blocks in your leg circulation. If we feel that you would need some treatment for your PAD then you may have to undergo and test called angiogram where a dye would be injected in to your arteries to assess the blocks that you might have in them.

In early stages of disease when you have only pain during walking you may be advised to do the following

  1. Stop Smoking
  2. Control your Diabetes
  3. Control your blood cholesterol levels
  4. You would be advised to take some medications to improve blood supply (You must remember that these medications would not clear the blocks that have already developed in your blood vessels and you must be under follow-up of your doctor while you are on these medications)
  5. Walking exercises as advised and care of your feet.


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