Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), also known as poor circulation, hardening of the arteries and peripheral artery disease, is a narrowing of the arteries resulting in reduced blood flow to the arms, legs, heads and stomach.
The most common cause is atherosclerosis, an accumulation of fatty deposits (plaque) inside the arteries. Less common causes of PAD include infection or inflammation of a blood vessel, exposure to radiation, arm and leg injuries and muscles or ligaments (the fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones) with unusual shapes.
The symptoms and severity of peripheral arterial disease vary from person to person, but one of the most common signs is changes to the skin's colour and texture. With a reduced blood flow, there is increased pressure in the arteries, which causes inflammation of the skin. Unless treated, this can lead to sores, rashes, ulcerations and other skin problems.
People with PAD may exhibit one or several changes to the skin of the legs, ankles and feet. These changes often start as mild problems but, with time, can lead to more severe symptoms.
The following factors increase the chances of someone with diabetes developing skin changes as a result of PAD.
In many cases, people with PAD show no symptoms; therefore, it is often difficult to identify the condition. However, if you experience the following changes, you should book an appointment with your doctor for further investigation. In case of gangrene, black tissue or if the symptoms develop quickly or suddenly worsen, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Skin changes and discoloration may be a sign of peripheral artery disease, which can progress if not treated properly. There is no cure for PAD, but you may be given medications to help reduce symptoms such as skin changes if you're diagnosed with the condition. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes to improve symptoms. These can include:
To help prevent peripheral artery disease and better manage PAD symptoms such as skin changes if you have received a PAD diagnosis, contact the skilled and friendly team at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy.
We specialize in vascular treatments that improve blood and oxygen flow to the limbs, helping to keep PAD symptoms in check. To schedule a consultation, please call MINT today or book an appointment online.