Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) happens when there is a narrowing of the blood vessels outside of your heart. The cause of PAD is atherosclerosis. This happens when plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs. Plaque is a substance made up of fat and cholesterol. It causes the arteries to narrow or become blocked. This can reduce or stop blood flow, usually to the legs If severe enough, blocked blood flow can cause tissue death and can sometimes lead to amputation of the foot or leg.
An aneurysm is a bulge or "ballooning" in the wall of an artery. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body. If an aneurysm grows large, it can burst and cause dangerous bleeding or even death.
Most aneurysms occur in the aorta, the main artery that runs from the heart through the chest and abdomen. Aneurysms also can happen in arteries in the brain, heart and other parts of the body. IF an aneurysm in the brain bursts, it causes a stroke.Aneurysms can develop and become large before causing any symptoms. Often doctors can stop aneurysms from bursting if they find and treat them early. They use imaging tests to find aneurysms. Often aneurysms are found by chance during tests done for other reasons. Medicines and surgery are the two main treatments for aneurysms.
It is not clear exactly what causes aneurysms. Some aneurysms are present at birth (congenital). Defects in some of the parts of the artery wall may be responsible.
Common locations for aneurysms include:
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cigarette smoking may raise your risk of certain types of aneurysms. High blood pressure is thought to play a role in abdominal aortic aneurysms. Atherosclerotic disease (cholesterol buildup in arteries) may also lead to the formation of some aneurysms.
Pregnancy is often linked to the formation and rupture of splenic artery aneurysms.
The symptoms depend on the location of the aneurysm. If the aneurysm occurs near the body's surface, pain and swelling with a throbbing mass if often seen.
Aneurysms within the body or brain often cause no symptoms.If an aneurysm ruptures, pain, low blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, and lightheadedness may occur.
The risk of death after a rupture is high.
Peripheral Arterial Disease- Legs
Peripheral artery disease is a condition of the blood vessels that leads to narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply the legs and feet.The narrowing of the blood vessels leads to decreased blood flow, which can injure nerves and other tissues.
Peripheral artery disease is caused by arteriosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries." This problem occurs when fatty material (plaque) builds up on the walls of your arteries. This causes the arteries to become narrower. The Walls of the arteries also become stiffer and cannot widen (dilate) to allow greater blood flow when needed.
As a result, when the muscles of your legs are working harder (such as during exercise or walking) they cannot get enough blood and oxygen. Eventually, there may not be enough blood and oxygen, even when the muscles are resting.Peripheral artery disease is a common disorder that usually affects men over age 50.
People are at higher risk if they have a history of:
The classic symptoms are pain, achiness, fatigue, burning, or discomfort in the muscles of your feet, calves, orthighs. These symptoms usually appear during walking or exercise and go away after several minutes of rest.
When peripheral artery disease becomes severe, you may have:
You can help your circulatory system (heart and blood vessels). Heart disease risk factors that you have some control over include high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, and smoking.
Quit smoking -- this is the single most important change you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Other lifestyle changes can also reduce your risk of hardening of the arteries:
Get your blood pressure checked every 1 - 2 years before age 50 and yearly after age 50. Have your blood pressure checked more often if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or you have had a stroke. Talk to your doctor about how often you should have your blood pressure checked.
If your blood pressure is high, it is important for you to lower it and keep it under control.
Your doctor may want you to take medicine for high cholesterol levels if lifestyle changes do not work. This will depend on:
Your doctor may suggest taking aspirin or another medicine to help prevent blood clots from forming in your arteries. These medicines are called antiplatelet drugs. DO NOT take aspirin without first talking to your doctor.