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Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease Specialist

Peripheral arterial disease can cause leg pain and ulcers and, in severe cases, loss of a leg. If you have symptoms of peripheral arterial disease, highly skilled surgeon Jacob Rinker, MD, FACS, and his team at Wyoming Medical Associates can help. They perform expert procedures including angioplasty, endarterectomy, and peripheral bypass surgery at their locations in Gillette and Casper, Wyoming. Call the office nearest you to find out more or book an appointment online today.

Peripheral Arterial Disease Q & A

What is peripheral arterial disease?

Peripheral arterial disease is a problem with the large blood vessels called arteries that carry fresh blood around your body. The arteries in and around your heart are the coronary arteries. Peripheral arteries are those serving the rest of your body.

You can develop peripheral arterial disease if you have high cholesterol and the excess mixes with calcium and other substances in your blood to form plaque. Quantities of this sticky residue increase over time, and it gradually starts attaching itself to the insides of your arteries.

The more plaque there is, the less room blood has to flow, depriving your body of oxygen and nutrients. Without treatment, plaque buildup can cause severe narrowing of the arteries and eventually lead to blockages.

What symptoms does peripheral arterial disease cause?

Peripheral arterial disease could develop in any of your peripheral arteries, but most commonly affects your legs. Symptoms of peripheral arterial disease in the legs include:

  • Claudication 
  • Tiredness and heaviness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Numbness
  • Skin rashes
  • Discolored skin
  • Slow-growing leg hair or hair loss
  • Open wounds, or leg ulcers

Peripheral arterial disease that goes untreated can result in such low levels of nutrients and oxygen in your leg that the tissues start to break down. This condition — critical limb ischemia — can lead to infection, tissue death, and even amputation.

How is peripheral arterial disease treated?

Initial treatments for peripheral arterial disease include making changes to improve your arterial health, such as weight loss, a low-fat diet, and regular exercise. Medication might be necessary to control high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

If your arteries are very narrow or blocked altogether, the Wyoming Medical Associates team can perform:

Lifestyle changes

The 2 most important lifestyle changes that you can make if you’re diagnosed with PAD are exercising more regularly and stopping smoking, if you smoke.

Other lifestyle changes

As well as exercising and stopping smoking, there are a number of other lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing other forms of CVD.

These include:

eating a healthy diet

maintaining a healthy weight

cutting down on alcohol

Angioplasty

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a catheter to access the affected artery. 

A catheter is a slender tube that fits through a small incision and travels along the artery to the blocked area. When it’s in place, your surgeon inflates a tiny balloon at the end of the catheter.

Pressure from the balloon flattens the plaque against the artery walls, making more space for blood to flow. Your surgeon might also fit a stent — a small piece of tubular mesh — in the area to hold the artery open.

Endarterectomy

If the plaque lining your arteries is hardened or otherwise unsuitable for balloon angioplasty, the Wyoming Medical Associates team can perform an endarterectomy. In this procedure, your surgeon opens up the artery to remove the plaque inside.

Carotid endarterectomy is a treatment for carotid artery obstruction. This happens when fatty, waxy deposits build up in one of the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are blood vessels that run on either side of your neck (carotid arteries). These vessels transport oxygen-rich blood to your brain.

A buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis) on the walls of your arteries may obstruct blood flow to your brain. Plaque that causes the narrowing in your carotid artery can be removed, allowing for improved blood flow and a lower risk of stroke.

Peripheral artery bypass surgery 

Using a graft that could be a plastic tube or a section taken from another blood vessel, your surgeon bypasses the blocked artery.

To find out more about treatments for peripheral arterial disease, call Wyoming Medical Associates or book an appointment online today.