According to the P.A.D. Coalition, the definition is as follows: “P.A.D. is short for Peripheral Arterial Disease. People have P.A.D. when the arteries in their legs become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits, or plaque. The buildup of plaque causes the arteries to harden and narrow, which is called atherosclerosis. When leg arteries are hardened and clogged, blood flow to the legs and feet is reduced. Some people call this poor circulation.”
P.A.D. most often occurs in the veins and arteries in the legs, but it also can affect other arteries, as well. We need those arteries to carry blood from the heart, so when they become damaged, or diseased, it not only affects the outer extremities, but it could also cause organ or tissue damage, if left untreated.
The good news is that P.A.D. can be treated, and the damage can be controlled and reversed with lifestyle changes, a medicine regimen or surgical options. The first thing to consider is what is causing it. Because the symptoms generally start in the lower legs, if you notice a heaviness or outward appearance of veins – get checked. It may just be spider or varicose veins, and those can be treated by a competent plastic surgeon. The good thing is that, while they are checking you for unsightly veins, they can also determine whether you might need to have further testing done, to stave off unnecessary damage at a later date. You never know until you take the first step, and schedule a consultation with a vascular expert in your area.