Advanced Care for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a circulation disorder caused by a narrowing or damage of the arteries outside the heart. PAD is a slow, progressive disease that is most commonly the result of a buildup of plaque (cholesterol, calcium and fibrous tissue).
The peripheral arteries most often affected by PAD are in the legs, neck and abdomen, but PAD can also involve the arteries leading to the aorta, brain, arms, kidneys and stomach. PAD is a branch of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which can occur in vessels both within and outside the heart.
At UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, our team of experienced vascular surgeons extend compassionate, state-of-the-art care to help people of all ages achieve optimal vascular health. If you would like to learn more about how we treat peripheral arterial disease in Williamsport, PA, and the surrounding areas, Find a Provider at UPMC.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Symptoms
Almost half of all people diagnosed with PAD or PVD are symptom-free. The most common symptom noticed by patients is intermittent claudication in the calf (leg discomfort that occurs with exercise and is relieved by rest).
Other symptoms of peripheral arterial disease may include:
- Changes in the skin, such as temperature, reddish-blue discoloration and thin, brittle skin on legs and feet
- Diminished pulses in legs and feet
- Gangrene (dead tissue due to lack of blood flow)
- Hair loss on the legs
- Non-healing wounds on pressure points like ankles and heels
- Numbness, weakness or heaviness in muscles
These symptoms are not exclusive to PAD or PVD; consult a physician at UPMC for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Causes
In many cases, PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty plaque on the walls of the arteries which results in reduced blood flow. While commonly found in the heart, atherosclerosis can also affect the arteries in other parts of the body. When it occurs in the arteries of the limbs, it causes peripheral artery disease.
Less common causes of PAD include injury to the limbs, radiation exposure, blood vessel inflammation or unusual anatomy of your ligaments or muscles.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatment in Williamsport, PA
Specific treatment for peripheral arterial disease will be determined by your cardiologist based on your age, symptoms and personal health status.
PAD treatment may include:
- Lifestyle modifications like exercise, nutrition and smoking cessation
- Aggressive treatment of PAD-aggravating conditions like diabetes and hypertension
- Medications to improve blood flow
- Angioplasty to open a blocked artery
- Vascular surgery to reroute blood flow
UPMC provides access to convenient locations for patients with peripheral arterial disease in Williamsport, PA.