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Identifying Signs of PAD in Men and Women

Posted on June 27, 2024

Signs of PAD may look different in men and women.

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Short for Peripheral Arterial Disease, (PAD) develops when plaque in the arteries slows blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. And ‘plaque’ is a substance comprising calcium, cholesterol, fibrin, and fatty substances.

When plaque collects in the arteries, they start to narrow and harden (known as Atherosclerosis). In turn, your body's blood supply is reduced, impacting optimal function. Now, some people experience immediate PAD symptoms, but others won't know they have the disease for quite some time. And, even if they do notice changes in the body, it's often difficult to diagnose PAD, since it looks like many other conditions in the early stages of development. So, how can you learn the signs of PAD and get an accurate diagnosis? Keep reading to find out!

Signs of PAD

Common PAD symptoms include coldness or numbness in your legs and feet; leg discoloration; hip, thigh, or calf cramps; and leg ulcers (wounds that don't heal well).

Your feet may develop burning or aching pain; toenail growth could slow; and you could experience pain when you walking. Growth of leg hair could slow or stop. And, for men, erectile dysfunction could be one of the signs of PAD.

What Does PAD Look Like for Men vs. Women?

Aside from erectile dysfunction, mens PAD symptoms tend to develop earlier than those experienced by women. As such, women often get diagnosed with PAD at a later stage of progression. And, they may be at a higher risk for the disease, since research suggests that body fat and menopause increase PAD risk in women, as does the post-menopausal build up of calcium deposits in the breasts, according to this study.

Disease Risks to Consider

PAD can cause several complications. When your arteries narrow, blood doesn't flow as it should, so blood clots can form on the surface of built-up plaque build-up. In turn, this may threaten your limb health. So for this, and many other reasons, it's important to seek early medical intervention when you notice the signs of PAD.

Treating PAD in Georgia

Our Georgia vascular specialists diagnose PAD in the office with the bedside Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) test. It uses ultrasound and blood pressure cuffs to evaluate circulation in the arms and legs. And this test may be followed by MRA or CT scans if your ABI results are inconclusive.

Once we know the state of your arterial health, we can determine your treatment based on these guidelines from the journal Circulation: "The person living with peripheral artery disease is the authority on the impact it has on their daily life. Our treatment must be grounded in their lived experiences and go beyond the clinical measures of how well blood flows through the arteries.”

And, to honor that ideal, we offer a variety of treatment options, from lifestyle modifications to minimally invasive procedures like Angioplasty for PAD, Stenting, and Atherectomy. So, if you've noticed any signs of PAD request an immediate consultation [/ga-appt-link.] We can help you begin treatment promptly, helping avoid disease progression and further complications.

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