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What Are The Stages Of Peripheral Artery Disease?

Stages of peripheral artery disease

Overview Of Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is a long-term medical condition that affects your legs and mobility. This disease can vary from a mild condition without any symptoms to a severe condition that can result in amputation. Wondering what actually is peripheral artery disease? What are the symptoms of PAD? Are there different stages of peripheral artery disease? Scroll down to learn more about peripheral artery disease.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, peripheral artery disease is a common condition that affects approximately 12 to 14% of the population. It becomes more common as people get older, affecting up to 20% or 1 in 5 people over the age of 75.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that, in the United States, an estimated 6.5 million people aged 40 and older have PAD. Globally, the number of people with peripheral artery disease is estimated to be over 200 million.

Four Stages Of Peripheral Artery Disease

There are four stages of peripheral artery disease, which are asymptomatic, claudication, critical limb ischemia, and acute limb ischemia. With these peripheral artery disease stages, the severity of the symptoms increases in the patients.

1. Asymptomatic

During the initial stage of peripheral artery disease, not all people will experience symptoms related to this disease. There will be mild fatty deposits in the arteries, so the majority of the patients do not exhibit any symptoms.

If you smoke regularly and have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, there is a high chance that you might be suffering from peripheral artery disease. So, it is best to reach out to the vein doctors, get tested, and get early treatment if you are diagnosed with PAD.

In order to diagnose this disease, the vein doctors will perform the required tests, such as an angiogram or ankle-brachial index. If diagnosed early, your condition can be greatly improved by avoiding smoking, sticking to a good diet, regular exercise, and different lifestyle improvements.

Peripheral artery disease stages

2. Claudication

Claudication is the second stage of peripheral artery disease, where you will feel extreme discomfort and pain in the lower extremities, which happens because of insufficient blood flow. You are likely to experience frequent discomfort in your calves, thighs, or buttocks.

Most of the time, this discomfort feels like cramps because of excessive physical strain. You can get rid of this discomfort by exercising or taking enough rest. However, excessive amounts of physical activity can often cause pain. If you are suffering from claudication for a long time without seeking any medical help, you are likely to develop a limp.

3. Critical Limb Ischemia

Reduced blood flow to an organ or any body part is called ischemia. If you have peripheral artery disease for a lengthy period and leave it untreated, you will get into the critical limb ischemia stage. In this stage, you will experience constant discomfort, even during nighttime, for over two weeks. Other common symptoms include ulcers, skin sores, and non-healing injuries in one or both legs.

Critical limb ischemia, or CLI, is a severe artery block in the lower extremities that can eventually harm your leg arteries. This is a chronic medical condition, and you have a high chance of losing a limb, heart attack, vascular death, or stroke.

As critical limb ischemia is a severe stage of peripheral artery disease, you need to visit a professional Advanced Medical Group to get the required treatment. For treating critical limb ischemia, vein doctors often perform balloon angioplasty, bypass, etc.

4. Acute Limb Ischemia

Complete loss of blood flow to the extremities, which leads to rapid deterioration of the limbs and even death, is acute limb ischemia or ALI. Acute limb ischemia is the fourth stage of peripheral artery disease and increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and physical impairment.

During this stage, blood clots in your legs are suddenly damaged and run through the artery, which entirely restricts the blood flow. It results in a weak pulse and severe discomfort in your legs. If acute limb ischemia is left untreated, it may lead to limb amputation. So, emergency treatment is required for this stage of peripheral artery disease.

Some of the common symptoms associated with acute limb ischemia include extreme pain, loss of pulse or weak pulse, paleness, tingling sensations, and even paralysis.

Final Thoughts On PAD Stages

Even though peripheral artery disease is a long-term condition, it is treatable by improving your diet, exercising, and other lifestyle changes. To treat severe stages of peripheral artery disease, Our vein doctors will perform surgery. So, make sure to reach out to healthcare specialists if you have frequent leg pain or any of the above-listed symptoms of peripheral artery disease.

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