Irfan Siddiqui Discusses the Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease, PAD

Many people do not realize that the arteries in your legs and feet can become blocked, just as the arteries and blood vessels of the heart. When this occurs, it results in less blood flow to your lower extremities — or legs. This is also known as Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD.

PAD affects approximately 8.5 million Americans, and greatly increases a patient’s risk factors for heart attack and stroke. The disease is most common in smokers, or those who do not participate in physical activity. PAD is caused by a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries (called Atherosclerosis), which is also a common cause of heart attack or stroke.

How does one know when an artery in their leg has become blocked? Dr. Irfan Siddiqui, a leading Cardiologist at the Institute of Florida, explains the common symptoms of a blocked artery in a patient’s leg.

Blocked Artery Detection and Symptoms

It can be difficult to detect a blocked artery in your leg, or PAD, Dr. Siddiqui states. Most patients do not experience any symptoms, which can make PAD even more challenging to diagnose. Symptoms of PAD, when reported, include a heavy, tired feeling or ‘cramping’ in the legs that occurs when the patient is walking. These feelings usually subside after the walking activities have stopped.

Other patients have reported sudden hair loss on the feet and legs, as well as pain in the thigh or calf muscles when walking up stairs. Other patients feel a ‘numbness’ in their legs, brittle or slow-growing toenails. Additionally, some patients notice that injuries to the feel heal very slowly or not at all, or a pale ‘sheen’ or blue tinge to the skin on the feet and legs. Men often report erectile difficulty, or ED, which is a common symptom of PAD.

There are some risk factors that make a patient more susceptible to PAD. These include diabetes, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, increased age, high cholesterol as well as a family history of heart disease.

Experiencing Symptoms of PAD

If you are suddenly experiencing the symptoms of PAD, Irfan Siddiqui advises it is of critical importance to contact a doctor as soon as possible. Physicians can diagnose PAD through a series of tests which include an Ankle-brachial index test, which compares a patient’s blood pressure in their arm to the blood pressure in their ankle. Physicians may also diagnose PAD through an ultrasound scan, angiography, blood tests, doppler imaging, a CT (computed tomographic angiography) test, or magnetic resource angiography (MRA) test.

When PAD Symptoms are Left Untreated

If left untreated, PAD can lead to an increased risk of coronary artery disease, carotid atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. It is important to have PAD diagnosed as early as possible, to ensure the best patient outcomes, states Dr. Siddiqui.

Treatment for PAD

To treat PAD, a physician may recommend regular physical activity, changes in diet, quitting smoking, or medication such as statins to lower cholesterol levels, among other things. PAD can be successfully managed in most cases where it is caught early and treated effectively.

Irfan Siddiqui’s Final Thoughts

Blocked arteries in your legs and feet, also known as Peripheral Artery Disease of PAD for short, affects approximately 8.5 million Americans. PAD greatly increases an individual’s risk factors for coronary diseases such as stroke and heart attack. Irfan Siddiqui has explained that PAD symptoms include but are not limited to cramping in the legs, sudden hair loss on the feet and legs, a pain in the thigh or calf muscles when climbing stairs. Symptoms are not necessarily easy to detect, which means that upon the first sign of one you should contact a physician as soon as possible to diagnose the issue.

Irfan Siddiqui is a cardiologist in Florida. He received his medical degree from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Irfan Siddiqui is a cardiologist in Florida. He received his medical degree from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine.