Peripheral Arterial Disease


Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) develops when the vessels in your legs become blocked by fatty  plaque buildup (atherosclerosis). This restricts the flow of blood and oxygen from the heart to the legs. The result is discomfort or pain in the hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, shins, or upper feet when you walk. Untreated, PAD may place you at a greater risk for a heart attack or stroke, or even limb loss.

According to the CDC, approximately 6.5 million people in the US, age 40 and older, have PAD. For people 70 years or older, the odds of having PAD is 1 in 3.

Symptoms of PAD may not be noticeable at first. Only about 50% of the people with leg artery disease have blockages severe enough to experience pain or discomfort called Intermittent Claudication (IC). Over time, IC may occur when walking shorter distances. 

  • Pain, aches or cramps in hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, shins, or upper feet when you walk. Pain goes away when at rest

  • A feeling of tightness, heaviness, cramping, or weakness in your leg with activity

Critical Limb Ischemia – This is a condition of advanced PAD. With your legs deprived of oxygen, you may begin experiencing pain in your feet or toes, even when you are not walking. 

Severe PAD – Painful sores can develop on your toes or feet. Without improvement in blood flow circulation, these ulcers may eventually become dead tissue (gangrene).

Atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) is the primary cause of peripheral artery disease. This risk increases over the age of 50, with men at a higher risk than women. Other factors that increase the chances of developing PAD include:

  • Being over 30 percent over your ideal weight

  • Diabetes

  • High Blood Pressure

  • High Cholesterol or Triglycerides

  • High Levels of Homocysteine (an amino acid)

  • Smoking

Early detection and lifestyle changes are the best ways to reduce your risk or manage early-stage PAD. If the disease is advanced, surgery or minimally invasive treatments may be recommended. 

  • Eat foods low in saturated fats and calories

  • Exercise regularly 

  • Lower high blood pressure

  • Lower high cholesterol

  • Maintain an ideal body weight

  • Manage diabetes by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels

  • Quit smoking

Advanced PAD – If the leg cannot be preserved due to gangrene, amputation may be recommended. This is a treatment of last resort. More than 90 percent of patients with gangrene who are seen by vascular specialists can avoid amputation or have it limited to a small portion of the foot or toes.

Angioplasty and stenting – This minimally invasive surgical procedure is used for localized blockages in larger arteries to improve blood flow. A special balloon is inflated and deflated to widen the vessel. A stent may also be inserted to ensure the artery remains open. 

Bypass surgery – This procedure is particularly effective for extensive artery blockage. A detour around a narrowed or blocked bypass is made. The bypass goes above and below the blocked area, producing a new path for blood to flow.

Endarterectomy – This surgical treatment removes the plaque blocking the inner lining of the artery with an incision in the abdomen or side and restores blood flow. 

Medications – Medication may be prescribed to treat conditions that can worsen or complicate PAD. These may include medications for high cholesterol or high blood pressure or to minimize the chances of blood clots.  

Walking/Exercise – Exercising and walking regularly, (e.g., 30 minutes 3 times a week) along with other healthy lifestyle changes, may help manage your PAD symptoms.

You can depend on the expert team of medical professionals at Vascular Tyler to help you determine your best treatment options, based on your test results. 

For questions or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 903.533.8702..


The Patient Experience

Dr. Robbins looked at my imaging and made an appointment that same day for me to come in. At Vascular Tyler, it’s just like a family environment every time I come in here. If I have to go the doctor’s (office), this is where I want to go.
L. Cunningham, Patient
We don’t want to spend a whole lot of time with rehabilitation or in some sort of medical facility, so it was great discovering that there’s only little or no downtime. It was a matter of hours instead of days or weeks.
B. Finch, Patient
I had excruciating pain and was told I needed a knee replacement. But Dr. Robbins said I just need vascular surgery. They gave me relief from my pain, and they’re kind and interested in you as a patient and a person. This is the place to come.
M. Finch, Patient

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