Is leg pain when walking a symptom of peripheral artery disease?

Intermittent claudication is pain in the legs that occurs when walking and forces you to stop, and is one of the most characteristic symptoms of claudication. peripheral artery disease (PAD). This pathology affects the arteries that carry blood to the extremities, mainly the legs, causing a narrowing or occlusion that blocks or reduces and impedes blood flow. Peripheral artery disease is associated with atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries, progressively spreading until they occupy the entire lumen of the vessel.

Head of the Department of Angiology and Vascular Surgery Rubera International Hospital, Dr. Pablo Gallo, warns that there are factors that increase the risk of developing peripheral artery disease, including tobacco use, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. “In addition to other factors, such as age and family history, which cannot be controlled,” he notes.

According to the specialist, in the initial stages of the disease the symptoms are subtle and go unnoticed. However, as the narrowing progresses and blood flow in the arteries decreases, tingling and/or cramping sensations, intermittent claudication (pain when walking several meters), and even pain at rest may occur. Skin changes also appear, such as the presence of lesions that cause problems with healing of non-healing ulcers, paleness and/or coldness of one or both feet with decreased or absent pulses.

Therefore he emphasizes Dr. Gallo, It is important to see a vascular specialist if you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease to get an early diagnosis, manage risk factors, and slow its progression.

Doctors Santiago Zubicoa and Pablo Gallo

In this sense, “when a patient comes for a consultation, in addition to a thorough physical examination, it is necessary to obtain a complete medical history to identify risk factors. Diagnostics is complemented by echo Doppler, a tool that provides us with information about the state of blood circulation. In some cases, it is necessary to expand the study by performing arteriography or other imaging tests to assess the extent of the lesion and the extent of the disease,” explains the doctor. Dr. Santiago Zubicoa, Responsible for the Department of Interventional Vascular Radiology Rubera International Hospital.

Both experts say treatment should be individualized depending on the stage of the disease. According to him Dr. Pablo Gallo, controlling risk factors and adopting a healthy lifestyle are important components of treating vascular disease. In this sense, it is important to maintain good blood pressure control, adequate blood glucose and cholesterol levels, eat a balanced diet, abstain from tobacco use, engage in daily physical activity and consider foot care and the use of appropriate footwear. Once peripheral arterial disease is diagnosed, preventing foot injuries is critical.

According to Dr. Pablo Gallo, In the case of established peripheral arterial disease, as we mentioned earlier, lifestyle changes will be necessary, as well as the initiation of pharmacological treatment, and in some cases, revascularization treatment will be necessary to get more blood to the legs. .

“A comprehensive patient approach is critical to providing effective treatment for peripheral artery disease to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications such as limb loss,” the study author concluded. Dr. Gallo.

We will continue to inform…

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