Don’t Ignore the Signs of Peripheral Arterial Disease: The Dangers of Untreated PAD

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition that affects millions of Americans, yet often goes undiagnosed and untreated. PAD occurs when the arteries that carry blood to your extremities become narrow or blocked, leading to reduced blood flow and potentially serious complications such as heart attack, stroke, and amputation. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have PAD until it has progressed to a severe stage. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the dangers of untreated PAD and the signs to look out for.

One of the most significant risks of untreated PAD is a heart attack. When blood flow to the heart is reduced, the heart muscle can become damaged or even die. According to the American Heart Association, people with PAD are four to five times more likely to have a heart attack than those without PAD. PAD can also lead to stroke, as reduced blood flow to the brain can cause damage or death of brain cells.

Another potential complication of PAD is amputation, particularly if the disease goes untreated for an extended period. In severe cases of PAD, the affected limb may not receive enough blood supply to heal correctly, and the tissue may start to die. This can result in gangrene, a condition in which the tissue dies and begins to release toxins into the bloodstream, which can be life-threatening. In some cases, amputation may be the only solution.

People with PAD are also at increased risk of developing kidney damage and loss of kidney function. Reduced blood flow to the kidneys can cause them to become damaged and less efficient at filtering waste products from the bloodstream. Over time, this can lead to chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, which can be life-threatening.

The signs of PAD vary depending on the severity of the disease. At first, you may not notice any symptoms, or you may have mild leg pain or cramping that goes away with rest. As PAD progresses, you may experience more severe symptoms, such as leg pain that doesn’t go away with rest, numbness or tingling in your feet or legs, coldness or changes in skin color on your feet or legs, and slow-healing sores or infections on your feet or legs.

Peripheral arterial disease is a serious condition that can have life-altering consequences if left untreated. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of PAD, it’s essential to speak with your doctor right away. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments available for PAD, including lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery. By being aware of the signs of PAD and seeking treatment early, you can help prevent the complications of this condition and improve your overall health and quality of life.

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