|Peripheral Arterial Disease|| |
What is peripheral arterial disease?
Peripheral arterial disease is a disorder caused by an increased narrowing of the peripheral arteries (usually in the legs) whereby the blood circulation is reduced or even blocked completely.
Why do we have cramps when walking?
Our arteries transport oxygen-rich blood to the organs and cells in our body, the veins are responsible for returning the oxygen depleted blood to the heart. In peripheral arterial disease, blood clots develop in our arteries, which slow down or prevent the circulation. Our organs and cells situated below the blood clot are no longer supplied with blood and suffocate. The consequences of such an event may be extremely serious and sometimes even fatal.
Peripheral arterial disease is painless at the beginning. Then cramps and/or pain or an irritating feeling develop in the legs when walking or during physical activity; later also at rest. This indicates poor circulation in the legs due to a narrowing of the arteries, the blood vessels that transport the oxygen-rich blood.
Peripheral arterial disease, also called peripheral arteriopathy, is often much less well known than similar symptoms in the arteries of the heart and brain. The narrowing of the arteries to the heart causes angina pectoris and in its worst form a heart-attack. In the brain it causes stroke.
Symptoms of peripheral arterial disease include:
Cramp, irritation, pain when walking that disappears at rest
Cold hands and/or feet
Injuries, ulcers that do not heal easily
What is the connection between cramp, a heart-attack and a stroke?
Peripheral arterial disease is an alarm bell:
In due course the disease may develop and worsen. The circulation in the leg can block either partially or completely, resulting in serious disorders that might even result in gangrene.
Mainly, however, we know that the development of blood clots may also occur in other arteries, in other parts of the body.
People who suffer from peripheral arterial disease are specifically 4 times more at risk of suffering a heart attack and 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from a stroke!
Peripheral arterial disease: ARE YOU AT RISK?
You have pain or cramp in your calf, thigh or buttock when you walk?
These symptoms may be due to peripheral arterial disease.
You are not in pain. You are over 50 and have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Antecedents of angina pectoris, heart-attack or stroke
- Arterial hypertension
- High cholesterol
- Family history of cardiovascular disease
- Lack of physical exercise
These factors constitute major risk factors for peripheral arterial disease.
You are not in pain but are over 70.
Being over 70 years of age is a sufficient risk factor to carry out an examination for peripheral arterial disease.
IF YOU ARE AT RISK, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.
THERE ARE SIMPLE AND RELIABLE DIAGNOSTIC TESTS FOR THIS DISEASE