Categories: Cardiology

Peripheral Arterial Disease and Coronary Artery Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD):

We can also call it as Peripheral Vascular disease. In this condition, deposits/plaque (made-up with fat, cholesterol, calcium, etc.) develop inside the arteries at any part of the body. Majorly this problem is found in the arteries of arms and legs. Due to these deposits/plaques (Atheroma), less amount of blood gets circulated to the respective body part. PAD usually affects legs and arms. So while waking, it generates pain in legs and in severe cases it may cause gangrene and even lead to amputation.

Potential patient of PAD:

The cases of this disease are based on age. If age is higher, then the risk is higher. It is not gender-specific, but it can run in families. Smoking, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure raise the risk of PAD.

Symptoms of PAD:

The most common symptom is claudication (limping). It creates pain in the leg muscles while walking and exercising. This is because the muscle isn’t getting an adequate quantity of blood supply for oxygen and various required nutrients. When a muscle gets relaxed then a patient may pursue his activity. Due to the inadequate amount of blood supply, skin, and soft tissues of that part also get affected. Leg muscles get badly affected by PAD, as these muscles are furthest from the heart. It may develop persistent pain, ulcers, and even gangrene in feet. This is known as “Critical Limb Ischemia”. This condition requires rapid treatment to have a chance of saving the leg.

PAD Diagnosis:

You have to contact the vascular specialist, who will check for pulses in a specific leg’s part and the blood flow by the Doppler test. Doppler tests will help the doctor to know the blood pressure of the leg. The doctor may ask for the Duplex Ultrasound, which is a combination of standard ultrasound and doppler. This ultrasound helps to know about the place and the severity of the blocked arteries.

PAD Treatment:

When PAD affects your life; it means if PAD is so severe that you have ulcers/gangrene, then the doctor must act quickly to improve blood supply to the leg and decide for an invasive treatment like balloon angioplasty, bypass surgery, etc.

Coronary Arterial Disease:

Coronary Arterial Disease is a condition in which deposits/plaque (made by fat, cholesterol, calcium, etc.) develop inside the arteries of the heart. This condition is known as “Atherosclerosis”. These arteries play an important role to supply oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the heart muscle.

Causes of CAD:

Deposits/Plaque makes the arteries narrow and reduces the blood flow to the heart muscle. It helps in making blood clots in the heart easily. This results in a partial or complete blockage of blood flow leading to a heart attack. It has been observed that there are a few factors that damage the inner layers of coronary arteries.

Major factors are:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being physically inactive
  • Obesity
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Ethnic background (if you’re South Asian, you’re more likely to develop coronary heart disease than white Europeans)
  • Gender – Men are more likely to have CAD than women
  • Age

Signs and Symptoms of Coronary Arterial Disease:

Initially decreased amount of oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the heart may not be noticeable. But later on, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain: Feeling a lot of pressure, or tightness in the middle, or on the left side of your chest. This pain is also known as angina and is typically triggered by emotional or physical stress. After stopping the stress-inducing activity, the pain goes away.
  • Shortness of breath: Because the heart isn’t pumping enough blood according to your body’s needs, one may experience shortness of breath or fatigue.
  • Heart attack: It occurs when a coronary artery is completely blocked. Heart attack includes extreme pressure in the chest, pain in the shoulder or arm, and sometimes sweating.
  • Jaw and Neck Pain: Women may experience less obvious signs such as pain in the neck or jaw. Sometimes, heart attacks may occur without any apparent warning signs.

Dr. Auriom Kar, Consultant – Cardiology Adult, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Barasat

Narayana Health

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