Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can cause leg pain when you exercise due to the lack of oxygen in your tissues. If you're experiencing symptoms of PAD, Allison Burkett, MD, FACS, of Middle Georgia Vascular Surgery Center & Vein Solutions in Warner Robins, Georgia, can help. Dr. Burkett treats PAD using advanced, minimally invasive techniques like balloon angioplasty and stenting. For expert relief of peripheral artery disease, call the office or book an appointment online today.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition in which a sticky substance called plaque builds up in your arteries — the blood vessels that carry blood rich with oxygen from your heart to your organs, head, and limbs.
When plaque gathers in your arteries, the condition is known as atherosclerosis. Over time, the plaque, which consists mostly of excess cholesterol, can harden and make your arteries narrower. This limits the flow of blood and starves your organs and other tissues of vital oxygen.
PAD typically affects the arteries in your legs but may also develop in other arteries, such as those in your arms and kidneys.
One of the telltale signs of peripheral artery disease is intermittent leg pain called claudication — painful cramping that affects your hip, thigh, or calf muscles after physical activity, even just walking or climbing stairs.
You might also experience numbness or weakness in your leg, and your lower leg or foot may feel noticeably cold especially in comparison to the other side.
Not everyone who has PAD develops symptoms like these, or the symptoms that are present may be so mild that you believe it's due to increasing age.
Treatments Dr. Burkett might recommend for peripheral artery disease include heart-healthy lifestyle changes and medications. If your arteries are severely blocked, you might need to undergo a procedure such as:
To perform balloon angioplasty, Dr. Burkett makes a very small incision in an artery, usually in the groin, and feeds a slim tube called a catheter into the cut. When the catheter is in position, she inflates a tiny balloon that squashes plaque flat against the artery walls, opening up the artery.
A stent is a mesh tube that Dr. Burkett puts into the artery to ensure it stays open after your procedure.
Atherectomy uses the same catheterization technique as angioplasty, but instead of squashing the plaque, Dr. Burkett removes it by scraping it away with a special tool.
Bypass grafting involves rerouting blood along a different artery using a section from another, healthy blood vessel.
If you have any signs of peripheral artery disease, don't wait until it becomes a more serious problem. Call Middle Georgia Vascular Surgery Center & Vein Solutions today or book an appointment online.