Circulation issues in the legs and feet are often caused by Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). PAD is caused when fatty deposits cause plaque buildup in the arteries of the legs. When this happens, the arteries harden and narrow, developing atherosclerosis. When developed, atherosclerosis causes the flow of blood to be reduced to the feet and legs. Twenty percent of the population over the age of seventy has been diagnosed with PAD. The diagnosis carries a 200 to 600 percent greater risk of fatal stroke or heart attack. It also contributes to a greater risk for foot and leg amputations and ranks with diabetes in the two top related leg complications.
The greatest risk factor for poor circulation and PAD is smoking. Closely behind is high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and lack of exercise. Most of these behaviors can be modified through lifestyle changes and can make great strides to reducing the symptoms of a possibly fatal condition.
Symptoms of PAD include leg pain, especially pain that occurs during gait but reduces upon rest. Fatigue while walking can also be a potential sign. Pain in toes upon resting can be a possible clue to the condition. If foot wounds take long to heal, this can also be an indication of the disorder. Leg pain is a significant indicator or PAD and should not be ignored. The earlier PAD is detected, the earlier it can be reduced and controlled.
To diagnose poor circulation, a doctor tests the blood pressure of the arm and contrasts this with the blood pressure of the ankle. For patients with circulation issues or PAD, the blood pressure in the ankle is significantly different than that of the arm. Smoking cessation, exercise, improved diet, cholesterol reduction, blood thinners, and diabetes treatment are all possible treatments to reduce PAD. Upon diagnosis, a doctor can advise you on the most effective treatment to reduce and control PAD.