Steady blood flow is critical for your limb health and function, which is why conditions like peripheral arterial disease (PAD) are so damaging. PAD prevents your feet from getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy, function well, and repair damage. Catching arterial problems early is best, so you can begin immediate treatment and prevent serious side effects of poor circulation. That’s why effective peripheral arterial disease testing is so important.
Living with PAD
Peripheral arterial disease involves arteries in your limbs becoming stiff and narrow. This restricts blood flow to your limbs, preventing them from getting the blood—and thus oxygen and nutrients—they need. This can lead to a variety of effects in your lower limbs. Your immune system is somewhat impaired, which can slow down wound and injury healing. Your feet or legs may cramp frequently when you’re active. If blood flow is severely restricted, you can even develop issues with ulcers or tissue death. Living a healthy life without foot pain means investing in your foot care; however, you need to know you have PAD before you can begin effective treatments for your circulation.
How to Test for Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease testing is easier than you might think. There are a few common tests specialists like Dr. Jyotsna Thapar use to evaluate circulation in your lower limbs to look for PAD. A basic examination for PAD symptoms in your feet and legs may trigger the appropriate tests.
One of the most common ones is called the ankle-brachial index (ABI). This test compares the blood pressure and pulse in your ankles to your arms. Our team will use a blood pressure cuff to evaluate your blood flow and pulse in your lower limbs and your arms to compare the two. This test is simple and quick, though it might involve minor exercising or walking to get a better picture of any restrictions in blood flow. If blood pressure in your ankles is lower than that in your arm, you may have PAD.
Using Doppler ultrasound is another common test to check the flow of blood in your lower limbs. Basic blood tests can check your cholesterol and triglycerides as well. In some cases, you may need a more advanced test, like an angiography. This involves using a contrast dye and X-ray or MRA imaging to view the flow of your blood through your body.
Treatment Options in Warren, Hillsborough and South Plainfield, NJ
Once peripheral arterial disease testing has confirmed you have PAD, it’s time to begin next steps and plan treatment for your lower limbs. Dr. Thapar and our team will help you establish a plan to improve circulation and relieve any symptoms of the problem. This may include exercise, diet changes, and footwear or shoe inserts to better protect your lower limbs. The key will be to not ignore your diagnosis, but take active steps to address the problem and invest in your foot health.
PAD can seem to take over your lower limbs and make hobbies or being active uncomfortable for you. Catching the problem early can help you control it and take care of your lower limb health, which is why peripheral arterial disease testing is so important. If you’re concerned about your circulation, or know you’re prone to problems, don’t wait for complications to develop to get tested. Contact Ankle & Foot Specialist of N.J. for a consultation today so you can get diagnosed and treated. You can reach our South Plainfield, NJ, office at (908) 222-8980 or through our website.