What is peripheral artery disease?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a progressive disease where blood vessels in the legs become clogged from fatty deposits. PAD can limit the blood flow to the arms, legs, kidneys, and other vital organs, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. The lack of blood flow results in the absence of oxygen-rich blood, which can cause nerve and tissue damage. Patients who have PAD in their legs may experience cramping, numbness, unexplained leg fatigue, or pain which makes it difficult to walk. Infections can also happen very easily due to the lack of blood in the legs. If the lack of blood continues for a prolonged period, muscles and tissue in the legs may die. Severe clogging can lead to gangrene, and in some extreme cases, it may require amputation.

Am I at risk for PAD?

The following are considered risk factors for PAD.

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of heart attack or stroke
  • Age over 70
  • Higher incidence in African-Americans
  • Tobacco use

How do you test for PAD?

We evaluate patients for PAD by performing a simple test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). This test is done with a Doppler prove that senses blood flow through the arteries of the leg. The blood flow is then compared with the flow of blood in the arm.

How long does the ABI take?

It normally takes less than 30 minutes.

Does the ABI test hurt?

No. It is virtually painless.

How is PAD treated?

For PAD treatment, the risk factors need to be reduced or controlled as much as possible. This means controlling the diabetes, elevated cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Tobacco use needs to stop immediately and an exercise program should be started.

PAD treatment may also include medications called antiplatelet medications. Antiplatelet medicines are used to prevent the formation of blood clots.

There are procedures that may be done for PAD treatment. These include angioplasty, stents, or surgery.

Vascular Insufficiency

Vascular insufficiency can cause great discomfort and disability. Chesapeake Cardiac Care offers in-office tests that can detect vascular insufficiency early on, which ensures you have the broadest treatment options.

What is vascular insufficiency?

Vascular (or venous) insufficiency, commonly referred to as varicose veins, is a condition where blood pools in the legs and does not flow to the heart properly. With this condition, the valves in your veins that keep blood flowing toward your heart don’t work correctly, which allows the blood to pool in your legs.  This causes your veins to become engorged, enlarged, and twisted.

Am I at risk for vascular insufficiency?

Vascular insufficiency may result from:

  • Obesity
  • Inactive, or sedentary, lifestyles
  • Occupations that requires you to stand for long periods of time
  • Tobacco use
  • Pregnancy

What are some symptoms of vascular insufficiency?

Symptoms that may indicate an issue with the venous circulation include:

  • Leg heaviness
  • Aching
  • Cramping
  • Leg pain when standing for long periods of time
  • Poor healing of wounds on your ankles
  • Swelling of your legs or ankles
  • Skin changes in the legs, ankles, or feet

How do you test for vascular insufficiency?

You will come to our office where we will use a probe over your veins. This will allow us to measure the venous refill of your lower extremities, which in turn gives us the opportunity to identify problems affecting your venous circulation.

How long does the detection test take?

It normally takes less than 30 minutes.

Does the detection test hurt?

No, it is a painless procedure.