As its name suggests, peripheral artery disease affects the arteries, and the most common cause is atherosclerosis. Another name for it is “obliterative arteriopathy”. This pathology can affect various arteries, such as: renal (those that vascularize kidneys), mesenteric (those that vascularize the intestines), arteries of the upper limbs, carotid and vertebral arteries (those that vascularize the brain), but most commonly, this disease is evident in the arteries of the lower limbs.
Atherosclerotic damage to the arteries involves the formation of atheroma plaques (“fat deposits”) on the walls of the arteries, leading to their narrowing. This phenomenon makes it difficult for the blood to circulate and thus less oxygen will reach the tissues nourished by that artery. Tissues suffer due to insufficient oxygenation.
Risk factors for atherosclerotic damage to the peripheral arteries are mainly the same as for atherosclerotic damage to the coronary arteries (those that feed the heart): smoking, dyslipidemia (high blood fat), high blood pressure and diabetes.
If the arteries of the lower limbs are mainly affected, it is very important to exercise, walking until the onset of pain, followed by a break and then resuming walking. This promotes the appearance of collateral blood vessels (vessels that bypass the affected part and thus help oxygenate the peripheral tissues).
In addition, the treatment is medicinal, and in certain more serious situations, its association with interventional or surgical treatments may be required. For treatments find a good pad doctor as soon as possible.