If your legs ache and feel heavy when you walk, it could be claudication, which is a symptom of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Ayad Agha, MD, of IYA Medical in Scottsdale, Arizona, is an experienced interventional radiologist who can treat peripheral arterial disease using minimally invasive procedures that address the cause of your condition. If you’re experiencing problems with your legs that could be PAD, call IYA Medical today or book an appointment online.
Peripheral arterial disease or PAD is a condition that damages your arteries. Your arteries are the blood vessels that take oxygenated blood from your heart around your body.
Peripheral arterial disease comes in several forms, all of which cause the arteries in your legs or arms to become narrowed or clogged. Peripheral arterial disease occurs from blood clots and atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a disease in which a sticky substance called plaque builds up on the inside walls of your arteries. Plaque contains fats, cholesterol, and calcium, plus other waste particles from your blood.
Over time, plaque builds up until it restricts or blocks the flow of blood, preventing oxygen from getting to your organs and tissues. These blockages can lead to life-threatening strokes and heart attacks.
Pain or heaviness in your legs when you’re walking is a common symptom of peripheral arterial disease known as claudication. Your legs might also be:
Your skin can also change color in the areas affected by peripheral arterial disease.
You’re more likely to develop peripheral arterial disease if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Smokers are also more likely to get PAD.
Lifestyle changes can often help considerably - for instance, improving your diet to reduce cholesterol, losing weight, and quitting smoking can all help the health of your arteries.
If these measures aren’t enough, IYA Medical can provide minimally invasive interventional radiology treatments for peripheral arterial disease.
Treatment starts with the image-guided insertion of a thin tube called a catheter into a blood vessel, usually in your groin. Dr. Agha feeds the catheter up to the affected artery, so he can see which form of treatment is most appropriate. Choices include:
Thrombolysis is usually an emergency treatment for a blood clot. Over 12-24 hours, medication to dissolve the clot goes into the catheter while you’re in the hospital intensive care unit.
If you have a blood clot that suddenly blocks up an artery, Dr. Agha can either vaporize the clot or pull it out using specialized medical instruments.
Angioplasty uses medical balloons to open up your arteries. The balloons might stretch the arteries, or have metal edges that cut off or break up deposits of calcium. There are also drug-coated balloons that help prevent scarring and stop the artery narrowing in the future.
After balloon angioplasty, Dr. Agha might place a tiny mesh tube called a stent in your artery to help it stay open.
If you have symptoms of peripheral arterial disease, get the right treatment before you suffer a heart attack or stroke. Call IYA Medical today or book an appointment online.