Knowing The Difference Between Peripheral Artery Disease And Venous Disease

Cardiovascular doctors review patients with a family history of heart disease and underlying causes of the disease. They perform tests for the individuals and review any signs of peripheral artery disease or venous disease. Various forms of artery disease can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. A proper assessment is the only way to find out what risks the patients face. 

Many heart doctors recommend setting up a visit at the first sign of peripheral artery disease and venous disease. A common issue for many individuals is that they don’t know the difference between the diseases or how dangerous the conditions are. A complete review of the conditions helps patients find out more information about these diseases.  

What Is Peripheral Artery Disease?

Peripheral artery disease affects the lower extremities and causes a blockage in the blood vessels. The disease prevents blood from flowing to the lower extremities as it should, and fatty plaque builds up inside the arteries. This is referred to as atherosclerosis.

The patient will also experience claudication or pain in the legs when walking or standing. Doctors recommend switching to a healthier diet, quitting smoking, and following an appropriate exercise plan. 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease?

First, the person experiences painful cramping in their hips, thighs, or calves. The cramping begins when they are walking or climbing up the stairs. Additional symptoms include leg weakness or numbness, coldness in the leg or foot, sores on lower extremities that don’t heal, and changes in the color of the legs.

Some patients experience slower hair growth on their legs, slow-growing toenails, shiny skin on their legs, and a weakened pulse in the legs. The person could also experience aching and cramping when using their arms and hands, such as when they are writing. 

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors?

Common causes are injuries of the legs, muscles, or ligaments, blood vessel inflammation, and radiation exposure. Other risk factors for the disease include smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a history of strokes, and increased levels of homocysteine.  

Are There Any Complications of the Disease?

Yes, the person could develop critical limb ischemia that causes open sores on the lower extremities. The condition can lead to infection progression and cause tissue death in the lower limbs. Strokes and heart attacks are other complications caused by the fat deposits in the vessels. 

The Best Practices for Preventing PAD

According to cardiovascular doctors, the best ways to prevent the disease is to quit smoking, get better control blood glucose levels, and exercise at least 30 to 45 minutes at least three times a week. The patient’s diet should include foods that lower cholesterol and are low in saturated fats. The person should also maintain a healthy weight. 

What Is Venous Disease? 

Venous disease creates damaged vein walls that allow blood to collect and travel backward when the patient’s muscles relax and no longer contract. The condition caused high pressure inside the veins, causes improper blood flow, and the formation of blood clots. According to statistics, at least 15% of all Americans have venous disease. 

What Are Symptoms and Complications of the Disease?

Varicose veins can cause swelling in the veins and allow the veins to appear on the surface of the skin. The condition allows blood to pool in the legs, cause pain in the legs, and increase the risk of leg ulcers. 

Superficial thrombophlebitis is inflammation of the veins in the legs and could increase the risk of a blood clot. The condition is considered minor and not life-threatening unless it does cause a blood clot.  

Deep-vein thrombophlebitis is a potentially life-threatening complication and could cause a pulmonary embolism that travels to the lungs. The condition can also cause dermatitis and swelling. 

What Are the Causes of Venous Disease? 

Stagnation of blood circulation because of mobility issues. Any bedridden individual is at a greater risk of developing the disease. Blood vessel injuries or damage or trauma can increase the risk of the condition. Anti-coagulating medications that patients with lupus or hemophilia increase the development of some form of venous disease. Pregnancy and a history of cancer are other causes. 

How to Prevent the Condition

Doctors recommend that the patient maintains a safer weight and avoids sitting or standing for long periods of time without changing positions. High heels can increase the risk of the condition. Individuals should get up and walk around if they are taking long trips that require them to sit for several hours. Doctors may also recommend wearing compression socks to improve blood circulation in the legs. 

How to Diagnose the Condition

The first signs of the illness are varicose veins, and the doctor will conduct x-rays to examine the vessels in the legs. The doctor will also discuss the patient’s family medical history to determine if they were predisposed to the disease. Imaging and tests can determine the risk the patient faces and if a blood clot has formed. Blood clots will require surgical removal to prevent more serious complications.  

Where to Get Cardiovascular Treatment

Carolina Cardiology Associates offer comprehensive cardiovascular treatment for all patients who have existing cardiovascular disease and those who are at risk of developing the disease. Patients will receive the highest standard of care and life-saving surgeries and procedures. Individuals who are experiencing any early warning signs of coronary artery disease get started by setting up an appointment with a Carolina heart specialist and the practice now. 

Both peripheral artery disease and venous disease can present serious health risks to anyone. The diseases affect blood circulation in the lower extremities and can lead to blood clots in the body. When reviewing the symptoms of the diseases, patients learn what the most serious signs are and when to seek emergency medical assistance. 

Cardiologists can complete a full assessment of the individual at the first sign of either disease and perform proper treatments to lower risks. By visiting a heart doctor regularly, cardiovascular patients can improve their health and avoid life-threatening conditions.  

The experienced physicians at Carolina Cardiology Associates are committed to the health of every patient who walks through our doors. We understand the challenges of cardiovascular disease and will work with you to provide treatment, education, and a plan for the future to help you live your healthiest life.