What You Should Know About Artery Disease
Every time the heart beats it pumps blood throughout the circulatory system. While veins deliver blood back to the heart, arteries are responsible for carrying blood away from the heart to tissues throughout the body. Since artery disease can impact a variety of systems and areas of the body, there is a wide range of symptoms associated with these diseases including dizziness, poor balance, chest pain, and even pressure in the chest.
Peripheral Artery Disease
This is one of the most common types of artery diseases. Just as plaque builds up in the arteries of the heart, it can also buildup in arteries outside the heart as well. This narrows the arteries, which restricts or can even cut off blood flow. Peripheral artery disease often impacts the legs, leading to cramping and pain. You may also notice the skin changes color or that your legs feel easily tired.
If you notice any numbness, weakness, or pain in your legs, it’s important that you seek medical attention and don’t just dismiss this. While occasionally tired legs may just be the result of increased activity, leg pain and weakness that doesn’t go away should always be evaluated by your doctor.
Certain risk factors that can increase your chances for developing PAD include,
- History of diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history of heart disease or stroke
- Older age (age 65 and older)
Within veins are valves, which flap open and closed to help keep blood flowing. When these valves become damaged, they don’t properly close so blood will begin to travel in both directions. This can lead to vein swelling and the pooling of blood. If you notice varicose veins or spider veins suddenly appearing, this could be a sign of venous disease. Any swollen or painful veins should be looked at by our team of vascular specialists.
While support stockings improve blood flow in the legs and elevating your legs throughout the day can improve varicose veins, you may want to talk with our vascular surgeon about other options. Sclerotherapy, laser therapy, or ligation surgery repair these damaged veins and improve your appearance.