PERIPHERAL ARTERIAL DISEASE
PAD or Peripheral arterial disease is a medical condition where there is a narrowing of your arteries due to the built up of plaques in your arterial walls. Plaque is made up of deposits of fats, cholesterol, and other substances and can harden over time which limits the oxygen-rich blood flow in your arteries. The condition is called atherosclerosis.
In general, peripheral arterial disease focuses on the arteries on the heart but it can also affect the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, legs, arms, kidneys, and stomach. Other cause of peripheral artery disease but rarely happens are blood vessel inflammation, injury to your limbs, and unusual anatomy of your ligaments or radiation exposure.
There are several risk factors that would increase your chances of developing peripheral artery disease. Smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, increasing age, high levels of homocysteine, obesity, high blood pressure and a family history of peripheral artery disease, heart conditions or stroke.
Generally, peripheral artery diseases don’t have any signs and symptoms, but if you do have, this may include but not limited to:
- Pain, numbness, achiness in the leg muscles
- Slow or absent pulses in the legs or feet
- Pale color of the skin
- Poor nail growth or decrease hair growth in the legs
- Erectile dysfunction among men especially if they have diabetes
When you have peripheral artery disease you are also at risk of developing complications such as stroke and heart attack and critical limb ischemia. Stroke and heart attack are conditions where the tissues in your brain and heart do not receive enough oxygenated blood. While critical limb ischemia is a condition where open sores, injury or an infection on your limbs, feet or legs, does not heal easily. When injury or infection progress tissue death can happen, or gangrene. Sometimes amputation is the only option.
If you think you are suffering from Peripheral Arterial Disease you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Peripheral Arterial Disease as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).