Life Expectancy with PAD: Tips for Managing Your Health

Life Expectancy with PAD: Tips for Managing Your Health

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center


Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a medical disorder characterized by the narrowing or obstruction of the arteries that direct blood flow from the heart to other body parts. The disease can trigger several symptoms, including leg, foot, and/or toe discomfort, cramping, and numbness. PAD is a serious illness that can substantially impact an individual's well-being. PAD affects up to 12 million Americans, and its prevalence is anticipated to rise as the current population ages. This article addresses the important facts about PAD, such as its signs and symptoms, the life expectancy of a person with PAD, its overall effects on life span, and general tips for adapting to the disease.

How Does PAD Impact General Well-being?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can enormously impact an individual's well-being. Obstruction or narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to the legs and feet can result in significantly decreased blood flow to these regions, creating various symptoms and complications. One of the primary consequences of PAD on general wellness is a reduced ability to walk or participate in physical activities due to leg discomfort and cramping. Decreased exercise can increase the risk of obesity and related health conditions, cause muscle atrophy, and reduce cardiovascular fitness.

PAD additionally boosts the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke, since the same mechanisms that cause blockages in the leg arteries can also occur in the arteries that supply to the heart and brain. The deposits of cholesterol build on this increased risk in the vital arteries, which can result in strokes if a piece breaks off and travels to these critical organs. Furthermore, PAD can lead to non-healing wounds, ulcers, and infections in the legs and feet, increasing the possibility of amputation. PAD is also linked to a higher risk of kidney disease and poor kidney function.

Early Warning Signs of PAD

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) can result in symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain and tissue damage. Here are some initial warning signs of PAD that you should be aware of:

  • Leg pain: One of the most common symptoms of PAD is leg pain, specifically during physical activity. This pain may feel like cramping or aching and is often relieved by rest.
  • Numbness or tingling: Some people with PAD may experience a numbness or tingling sensation in their legs or feet.
  • Cold feet: PAD can cause the feet to feel cold, even when warm.
  • Skin changes: In some cases, PAD can cause the skin on the legs and feet to become shiny, smooth, or discolored.
  • Slow healing: If you have PAD, you may notice that cuts or sores on your legs and feet take longer to heal than usual.
  • Weak or absent pulses: Your doctor may check the pulses in your feet and legs during a physical exam. These pulses could indicate PAD if the pulse points appear weak or nonexistent.

If you are experiencing any of these initial warning signs of PAD, it is essential to talk to your doctor immediately.

Common Stages of PAD

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a progressive condition that can cause adversities over time if left untreated. Here are the stages of PAD:

  • Asymptomatic stage: In the early stages of PAD, there may be no symptoms or only mild symptoms that are easy to overlook.
  • Claudication stage: As PAD progresses, you may experience pain or cramping in your legs during physical activity. The resulting pain usually goes away with rest.
  • Rest pain stage: If PAD is left untreated, the pain and discomfort may become more severe and occur even when resting, especially at night.
  • Ulceration and gangrene stage: In the most advanced stages of PAD, the lack of blood flow to the legs and feet can cause open sores or slow-healing wounds. In extreme cases, tissue death or gangrene may occur, which can lead to necessary amputation.

Treatment and Diagnosis Options for PAD

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition that requires timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment to prevent complications. Here are some treatment and diagnosis options for PAD.

  • Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle modifications such as exercising regularly, eating healthy, and quitting smoking can help reduce the symptoms and progression of PAD.
  • Medications: Medications such as antiplatelet agents, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and blood pressure medications can help manage the symptoms of PAD.
  • Angioplasty and stenting: These minimally invasive procedures involve inserting a balloon or stent to widen the blocked artery which improves blood flow.
  • Bypass surgery: In severe cases, bypass surgery may be necessary to reroute blood around the blocked artery.
  • Diagnosis: Diagnosis of PAD involves a physical examination and imaging tests like magnetic resonance angiography, ultrasound, and angiography.

Life Expectancy with PAD

It is possible to lead an active existence despite PAD. However, it might increase the likelihood of a more serious medical situation, like a heart attack or stroke. It is difficult to predict how long someone with PAD can survive- but without medication, one in five individuals is likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or pass away within five years. An individual with PAD must undergo extensive treatment to live a longer, happier life.

Tips to Manage Peripheral Artery Disease and Improve Life Expectancy

Here are the easy tips to help you regulate PAD and lead a satisfactory life:

  • Quit smoking: Smoking worsens PAD, and quitting can reduce symptoms.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help improve blood flow and help reduce symptoms.

    Also Read: Simple Exercise Tips for Persons with PAD

  • Follow a healthy diet: A diet low in saturated fats and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help manage effects.
  • Control blood pressure and cholesterol: Managing these risk factors can help prevent further damage to blood vessels.
  • Take medications as prescribed: Medications such as blood thinners and statins may be prescribed to help manage PAD and prevent additional complications.
  • Manage other health conditions: Conditions such as diabetes and obesity can worsen PAD, so initially managing these conditions is important.

How Can North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center Help?

No longer will peripheral artery disease have to slow you down! Take the first step towards healthier, pain-free legs with NAVC's expert treatment. At North Atlanta Vascular Clinic, we are dedicated to serving you with the best possible care. We offer personalized PAD treatment in Suwanee, GA curated to your unique needs, from lifestyle changes and medication to minimally invasive procedures and advanced surgical interventions. Book a consultation today and lead your journey towards a life of better quality. Your legs deserve it!



Content Source: NIH


North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic is a vascular surgery center located in Suwanee, Cumming, Alpharetta, and Lawrenceville, Georgia. Our vein disease specialists offer a comprehensive examination that includes a physical examination, review of your symptoms, and discussion of your medical history. We use advanced venography techniques and provide effective treatment for several health conditions like DVT, Spider Veins, Leg Cramps, MTS, and more. Contact us to get accurate diagnosis and treatment for all your vascular diseases.

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