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Ankle-Brachial Index

Very early detection and treatment of PAD is extremely important to keeping it from getting serious, and the test for PAD is generally an ankle-brachial index. The test consists of taking blood pressure readings in the arm and then the ankle. The 2 figures are compared: the ankle number needs to be the same or slightly greater than the one in the arm. A great score for the ankle-brachial index is 1 or 1.1 - at or below .95.

What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral arterial disease, known as PAD, is blocked arteries in the leg which warn of widespread cardiovascular disease and generally is a warning sign for a stroke or heart attack. The potential risks for PAD are the same as for cardiovascular disease: hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, being overweight and also family history. The more risk factors that you've got, the higher your risk will be. Individuals who are informed they have PAD are 2 to 4 times more prone to also develop coronary artery disease (CAD) and their heart attack risk increases to 20-60% higher.

The signs of PAD consist of leg muscle pain, fatigue, or a discomfort which could appear in the buttocks, thighs or leg muscles when you're walking or when you're exercising. In 50% of the recognized cases of the disease, however, there aren't any symptoms which are documented or noticed at all, or it might be dismissed as leg strain, arthritis, or any other causes. The longer that PAD goes without treatment, however, the more severe it will become, ultimately leading to the need for amputation.

PAD Treatment

For early PAD, walking is regarded as the first and best line of treatment. If the peripheral arterial disease is progressed or the patient will not adhere to the walking order, the next step is going to be surgery, usually an angioplasty procedure of the leg. Angioplasty underneath the knee is not thought to be as effective or as durable a surgical treatment as that which is done over the knee. A bypass is yet another surgical option that could be considered if the symptoms are serious enough, or if there is danger of the leg being lost entirely. Generally, a blood thinner will be given, however, the surgeries and medications are just part of the treatment for the long term. Identifying and getting rid of as many of the risks as is possible is also a solution to PAD treatment.

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