Understanding Artery Health

Arteries deliver blood to the body’s extremities, while the veins carry this blood back to the heart. Occasionally, plaque buildup and other blockages in the arteries deter or prevent oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood from reaching the arms and legs. This condition is called peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Approximately 12 million Americans have or suffer from symptoms of PAD. At Texas Vein & Wellness Institute, we help our patients diagnose, treat and prevent vein and arterial diseases.

What Is Arterial Disease?

Peripheral artery disease is the narrowing or blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the extremities. This narrowing occurs because of atherosclerosis — a buildup of fat, cholesterol and calcium deposits. PAD can occur in the arms or, more commonly, the legs.

Atherosclerosis prevents blood from flowing to the peripheral arteries, often causing severe complications such as pain, swelling and sores. In some extreme cases, PAD causes tissue death or gangrene.

what is arterial disease

What Are the Symptoms of Arterial Disease?

Patients might not experience symptoms of PAD right away. In fact, around 50% of PAD patients are asymptomatic. According to the American Heart Association, 4 out of 10 people with PAD do not experience leg pain under normal conditions. However, the first symptom is often discomfort or pain in the extremities during exercise. This pain usually disappears after strenuous activity, so many patients overlook the symptom. 

If you are concerned you might be at risk, monitor yourself for the following arterial disease symptoms:

  • A burning or aching sensation in the legs, feet or toes during exercise or while resting
  • Weak or numb legs or feet
  • Muscle cramping after physical activity
  • A slower or weak pulse in your legs, feet or toes
  • Cold legs, feet or toes
  • Shiny, cracked or discolored skin
  • Frequent leg or foot sores and infections, especially ones that do not heal easily
  • Slow growth of the hair and nails on your legs and feet

What Causes Arterial Disease?

Arterial disease is usually caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries called atherosclerosis. However, blood vessel inflammation, injuries or radiation exposure can also cause PAD. There are certain risk factors associated with PAD, including:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • A family history of PAD, stroke, coronary artery disease or heart disease
  • Advanced age
  • A body mass index (BMI) over 30

what causes arterial disease

The Different Types of Arterial Diseases

Several types of arterial diseases can affect patients, including:

Peripheral Arterial Disease

The different stages of PAD indicate the severity of the disease. Healthcare providers use two systems to assign a patient’s stage. According to the Fontaine system, there are four stages of PAD: 

  • Stage I: Often, patients do not experience symptoms right away. This is considered the asymptomatic stage of PAD.
  • Stage II: During stage two of PAD, patients might experience mild claudication, or pain during and after exercise.
  • Stage IIb: Claudication persists during this stage and might become moderate to severe. 
  • Stage III: In stage three, patients experience ischemic rest pain, or extremity pain while resting.
  • Stage IV: Stage four is the most advanced form of PAD. Patients experience ulcers, sores and gangrene in this stage.

 

Critical Limb Ischemia

Critical limb ischemia is an advanced type of PAD. Patients with critical limb ischemia have an artery blockage that prevents blood flow to the extremities. This blockage causes pain, swelling, ulcers that do not heal quickly and, occasionally, gangrene. 

Diabetic Vascular Disease

If a patient’s diabetes is not treated correctly or is poorly managed, this could result in diabetic vascular disease. With this disease, plaque buildup or a lack of insulin causes the arteries to harden. As a result, patients might experience pain, swelling, sores, ulcers, hypertension or a burning sensation in the affected limbs.

Arterial Disease Treatment Options

At Texas Vein & Wellness Institute, our board-certified vascular specialists diagnose and treat arterial disease with cutting-edge, minimally invasive surgical and nonsurgical procedures. We offer the following arterial disease treatments: 

  • Angiography: An angiography is an X-ray examination of the body’s blood vessels. It is also a PAD testing technique. Our experts use X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scans to locate slow blood movement and artery blockages.
  • Angioplasty: An angioplasty — also known as a balloon angioplasty — is a minimally invasive technique we use to widen or inflate the blood vessels and restore blood flow.
  • Atherectomy: Our team offers atherectomies to restore blood flow to the legs and arms. With an atherectomy, our physicians remove the plaque buildup in the arteries.
  • Stenting: A stent is a mesh, fabric or silicone tube that is inserted into an artery to “scaffold” it or keep it open. Like an angioplasty or atherectomy, stenting is minimally invasive and restores blood flow to the extremities.

Why Choose Texas Vein & Wellness Institute to Treat Arterial Disease?

At Texas Vein & Wellness Institute, we are proud to own two of Texas’ seven accredited vein treatment centers. We are your trusted authority for diagnosing and treating arterial and vascular diseases. Our specialists have decades of experience and use state-of-the-art technology and advanced, minimally invasive treatment methods to help you manage PAD and maximize your quality of life. 

Learn more about what sets us apart for our patients: 

  • Patient-centered care: Our patients are the focus of everything we do. Our friendly, compassionate team helps you choose the treatment options that suit your preferences, needs and lifestyle.
  • State-of-the-art facilities: Our facilities boast the technology, treatment methods and knowledgeable medical staff you need for comprehensive treatment — you will not need to go anywhere else for care.
  • Minimally invasive treatment methods: With our minimally invasive outpatient treatment methods, our patients bounce back and continue activities of daily living quickly. 

Contact Texas Vein & Wellness Institute Today to Request a Consultation

Your arteries are critical to your health. While arterial disease is common, it is also treatable. If you suspect you might be at risk of or have symptoms of PAD, it is best to seek diagnosis and treatment before the issue progresses. Our compassionate medical experts at Texas Vein & Wellness Institute have the knowledge and technology necessary to help you diagnose, treat and manage PAD so you can feel better and live an active lifestyle.

If you are seeking arterial disease treatment in Houston, you can depend on Texas Vein & Wellness Institute for unrivaled care. Contact us online or call 281-888-1464 today to learn more about our arterial disease treatment options or schedule a consultation.

Understanding Artery Health

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