If you have lower leg swelling and pain, you may have peripheral artery disease. This condition, which happens when you don't have enough blood going to your limbs, can cause serious problems like stroke or heart attack if undiagnosed and untreated. The board-certified cardiologist at Cardiology Now, Abid Husain, MD, FACC, offers Denver and Englewood, Colorado, area patients same-day and next-day services to identify peripheral artery disease early. Book online or by phone now.
Peripheral artery disease occurs when the circulatory system arteries (blood vessels) that deliver blood to your limbs narrow. This narrowing leaves you with insufficient blood flow to your limbs and often results in symptoms like swelling and lower leg pain. Although peripheral artery disease can affect your arms, it's far more common in the legs.
Atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in your artery walls, causes peripheral artery disease. Plaque is mainly composed of extra fat, calcium, and cholesterol.
Your eating and lifestyle habits can significantly contribute to atherosclerosis. For example, smokers, diabetes sufferers, and patients with high cholesterol are much more likely to develop atherosclerosis and therefore peripheral artery disease.
If your doctor observes signs of peripheral artery disease, they may order diagnostic testing. Some of the symptoms that may prompt diagnostic testing include:
Dr. Husain recommends the diagnostic test best suited for your situation. The most common test, the ankle-brachial index, measures your lower leg and arm blood pressure through a handheld Doppler ultrasound device. This procedure is quick and pain-free.
Vascular ultrasound is another way to diagnose peripheral artery disease. A vascular ultrasound checks arterial blood flow and shows blockages in peripheral arteries. As with other ultrasounds, it’s pain-free.
If Dr. Husain diagnoses you with peripheral artery disease, there’s good news: this condition is treatable. If your peripheral artery disease is diagnosed early enough, lifestyle changes might be sufficient to greatly reduce your risk for stroke, heart attack, limb loss, and other serious complications.
If your peripheral artery disease is advanced, you may need both lifestyle changes and medications. Some patients may need surgery to re-open arteries and improve blood flow, but if you’re committed to a healthy lifestyle you may be able to avoid surgery.
Dr. Husain offers the best in Denver area cardiology services for a reasonable price. Same-day or next-day appointments with quick results are available, so call the Cardiology Now office or book an appointment online today.