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Peripheral Artery Disease Essay

780 words - 4 pages

Peripheral artery disease is usually caused by atherosclerosis, which is when fatty deposits accumulate in the arteries of, most likely, limbs. This does affect all arteries throughout the body, then in turn, slowing the blood flow. PAD may also be due to inflammation of the blood vessels, injury to the extremities, or even exposure to radiation. “Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects approximately 10% of the American population” (Gurbir Dhaliwal; Peripheral arterial disease: Epidemiology, natural history, diagnosis and treatment; 2007). If not taken care of, PAD may lead to critical limb ischemia, open sores on the feet or legs that become infected by gangrene. The gangrene is then removed surgically, but doctors might have to amputate the extremity all together. Another issue that arises with PAD if it is not under control is the risk of stroke or heart attack. These can cause death to part of the heart or brain, or even death itself. The population more at risk would be smokers, diabetics, people who are obese, those with hypertension or hyperlipidemia, over the age of 50, have a family history of PAD, or those with a high level of homocysteine. If someone does fall into a few of these categories a physician can do a few tests to check for PAD. The doctor will more than likely start off with a physical exam, blood test, and possibly an ultrasound. From there the physician may try an ankle-brachial index, or ABI, which compares the blood pressure of the feet to the blood pressure of the arm. “An American survey of 2174 patients older than 40 years of age used the ankle-brachial index (ABI) as a screening tool, and showed a PAD prevalence of 0.9% between the ages of 40 and 49 years, 2.5% between the ages of 50 and 59 years, 4.7% between the ages of 60 and 69 years, and 14.5% for the ages of 70 years and older. More than 95% of patients with PAD had one or more cardiovascular disease risk factors.” (Gurbir Dhaliwal; Peripheral arterial disease: Epidemiology, natural history, diagnosis and treatment; 2007). An angiography is another test that could be used to diagnose PAD by injecting a dye into the blood stream and viewing the blood flow using an MRI or CTA. This test will show where the plaque is building up also.

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