Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) predominantly affects those over 65. As seniors make up an increasingly large portion of the population, understanding PAD becomes even more important. In this blog from Senior Helpers Thousand Oaks, you'll learn about the symptoms and risk factors of PAD, as well as treatments and preventative measures you or your senior can take to prevent this disease.
Overview of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem that occurs when the arteries become narrowed or blocked, leading to reduced blood flow, often in the legs and feet. PAD most commonly develops when plaque builds up on those artery walls due to atherosclerosis - cholesterol and calcium deposits within your body's arterial walls causing them to swell.
Aside from lower leg fatigue and general deterioration felt while standing or walking from one place to another,individuals with PAD may experience:
- Pain that only happens while active but quickly goes away once rest is taken
- Foot ulcers (open sores) that are not healing properly
- Weakness in muscle tissue of legs or buttocks area
- Coldness, numbness, or tingling of legs or feet
It is important to understand the factors associated with developing PAD such as smoking, carrying excess weight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. These are all very common conditions among seniors, making them more prone to PAD than others.
Non-surgical treatments like medication and lifestyle changes are often recommended to reduce symptoms, along with managing the risk factors associated with PAD. Medication such as antiplatelet drugs can help the arteries from becoming narrowed or blocked, whilst blood thinners reduce blood clots and lower cholesterol levels. Exercise therapy is also important for individuals suffering from PAD due to its role in improving circulation.
If medications alone fail to manage symptoms of PAD, then surgery may become necessary. The type of surgery will depend on the severity of the senior's PAD as well as any complicating pre-existing conditions.
The best way to prevent PAD is by living a healthy lifestyle, such as exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, and quitting smoking. Regular check-ups and testing with your primary care doctor are also vital parts of prevention. If you think you or your senior loved one might have PAD, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Taking the necessary precautions and/or starting treatment promptly will help keep this condition from developing or worsening.
Our In-Home Caregivers Are Here For Your Senior
Although PAD is a serious condition that affects millions of people in the US, it can be managed with an individualized treatment plan. Senior Helpers Thousand Oaks hopes this blog post sheds light on what Peripheral Artery Disease is and provides useful information on prevention methods. If you or your senior have any questions related to PAD or how our in-home caregivers can help, don't hesitate to contact us today! We serve communities in Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Oxnard, and Newbury Park.