How is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Diagnosed?
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a prevalent yet serious condition, often goes undiagnosed due to its subtle symptoms. PAD involves the narrowing or clogging of the peripheral arteries, most commonly in the legs. In this blog, we’ll explain how Dr. Sumit Kapadia, a renowned vascular surgeon, and his team conduct PAD diagnosis, and we’ll elaborate on various vascular tests such as Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI), Doppler ultrasound, and Angiography that are vital for diagnosing this condition.
Understanding Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Symptoms
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) might not manifest any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. However, as the disease progresses, patients often start to experience intermittent claudication, which is pain or muscle cramping in the legs or arms triggered by activities like walking. The pain varies from person to person and can range from mild discomfort to debilitating pain. Some often attribute it to aging or arthritis.
Additionally, PAD may lead to numbness or weakness in one or both legs. In more severe cases, it can cause sores or ulcers on your toes, feet, or legs that won’t heal, color changes in your skin, and a colder temperature in one leg compared to the other. Dr. Sumit Kapadia also highlights that symptoms in men can include erectile dysfunction, and severe PAD can cause resting pain or a burning sensation in your feet and toes while lying flat.
Medical History Assessment by Dr. Sumit Kapadia for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
As a part of the PAD diagnosis process, Dr. Sumit Kapadia will take a comprehensive review of your medical history. This will include a thorough review of your current health conditions, lifestyle choices (like smoking and exercise), and symptoms that you’re experiencing related to PAD.
Furthermore, your cardiovascular disease history, including incidences of heart attack, stroke, or transient ischemic attack, will be reviewed. As patients with conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol are at a higher risk for PAD, these factors are taken into account. A family history of PAD will also be considered in the assessment, especially if close relatives were diagnosed before age 50.
Physical Examination for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
During the physical examination, Dr. Kapadia checks for physical signs of PAD using a comprehensive approach. He begins with a visual examination, looking for any sores, ulcers, or color changes in the skin. Skin that looks shiny or has an unusual color could be an indication of insufficient blood flow. He will also check for a decrease in the temperature of your lower leg or foot compared to the other side, another sign of poor circulation.
Next, he will assess the pulses in your legs and feet. A weak or absent pulse in these areas can suggest PAD. Moreover, he may employ a Doppler ultrasound device, a handheld instrument, to evaluate blood flow in your arteries and identify any notable decreases.
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) is a common vascular test performed by Dr. Kapadia for diagnosing PAD. During this test, the blood pressure in your ankle is measured and compared to the blood pressure in your arm using a standard blood pressure cuff and a special ultrasound device. The comparison generates an index, the ABI. In general, the ankle pressure should be at least 90% of the arm pressure, but if it’s less, it may indicate blocked blood flow due to PAD. An ABI of 0.9 or less is generally considered as a sign of PAD.
The Doppler ultrasound is another diagnostic tool that Dr. Kapadia uses. This test measures the blood flow in your veins and arteries, and can show blocked or reduced blood flow through your major arteries. A Doppler ultrasound provides visual and audible representations of the vascular system and is instrumental in diagnosing PAD. It allows Dr. Kapadia to locate blockages or narrowing in the arteries, thus guiding him in designing an appropriate treatment plan for PAD.
Advanced Imaging Tests
In some cases, when the results of ABI or Doppler Ultrasound are not clear or further examination of the arteries is necessary, Dr. Kapadia may resort to advanced imaging tests. These may include Angiography and CT Angiography.
Angiography uses a dye injected into your arteries and X-rays to show blood flow. This test allows Dr. Kapadia to view blood flow in real-time and locate any blockages. CT angiography, on the other hand, uses a combination of X-ray and computer technology to produce detailed images of blood vessels. These images can provide a more detailed view of the blood vessels and assist Dr. Kapadia in formulating the most appropriate treatment strategy for PAD.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a serious but treatable condition, particularly if diagnosed early. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s important to consult with a professional like Dr. Sumit Kapadia, who specializes in vascular treatments. With his expertise and the use of advanced diagnostic tools like the Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI), Doppler ultrasound, and angiography, an accurate diagnosis can be achieved. By getting the appropriate diagnosis and treatment, you can effectively manage PAD and prevent its potentially devastating consequences, improving both your health and quality of life.