Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a disease caused by a narrowing of the arteries in your lower legs. Because many PAD symptoms mimic those of other conditions, this disease is often hard to diagnose. In order to prevent PAD from progressing, unchecked, in your body, it’s important to know and identify its symptoms. If you experience any of these problems, it’s important to see your Houston vein specialist right away.
6 Symptoms of PAD
- Pain in Your Legs After Walking or Exercise. One of the most common symptoms of PAD, this pain or cramping occurs with movement because your lower extremities don’t get enough oxygen to support the increased activity. Most often, PAD sufferers will experience this pain in their calf muscles, but it may manifest anywhere in the lower legs. Pain will typically not resolve until the PAD sufferer stops all physical activity.
- Wounds, Sores or Ulcers. This second symptom is also caused by a lack of oxygen reaching your lower limbs. When you cut yourself, and you don’t have PAD, proper circulation and blood flow will help your injury heal quickly. When you have PAD, however, even a small scrape can remain open and unhealed as the plaque in their arteries blocks blood flow to the wound. This symptom must be addressed immediately: left unchecked, a wound can lead to serious infection and even amputation.
- Skin Changes on Your Legs. Once again, poor circulation is behind this PAD symptom. Some of the physical changes that occur with PAD include skin that appears to be shiny, loss of leg and/or toe hair, and a blue-ish tinge to your skin. Your lower legs, especially your toes, may also feel cold, even when your feet are covered and should otherwise feel toasty.
- Muscle, Not Joint, Pain. We’ve already noted that leg pain and cramps are a symptom of PAD, but it’s important to note where that pain is located. Many people think of leg pain as a normal part of aging, and it CAN be–when that pain is happening in your joints. When it’s located in your muscles, however, that is a sign that something beyond normal aches and pains is going on.
- Dead tissue. Most people will identify their PAD before reaching this point, but if you have gangrenous or dead tissue on your toes, feet or legs and you haven’t been checked for PAD, get a diagnostic vein scan ASAP.