Freedom of movement is essential for a healthy life. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a quiet person retiredThe thing that every person will never want to give up is the freedom to go wherever they want whenever they want.
With age, people’s mobility may decrease due to both orthopedic and vascular problems. While some of the diseases that cause this can be completely treated, some of them can only be corrected to a certain extent. For example, a patient who suffers from severe pain due to calcification in his knees can partially correct his mobility while the pain is relieved with a knee prosthesis. Similarly, with appropriate treatment, the limbs of a paralyzed patient can regain their normal function.
Today, we will talk about vascular diseases and treatment methods that limit our mobility. It should be noted from the outset that almost all of these diseases are arterial diseases and are referred to as ‘peripheral arterial disease’ in medicine.
What is peripheral artery disease?
It is the central, that is, the center of the heart circulation center. The word periphery means far from the centre. Peripheral artery disease, on the other hand, refers to diseases of the vessels other than the heart and heart vessels. Peripheral vascular diseases refer to stenosis and occlusion of the carotid veins (carotid vein), abdominal aorta, lower extremity arteries (leg veins), and upper extremity arteries (arteries feeding the arms).
Who gets peripheral artery disease?
Peripheral arterial disease almost always develops due to vascular lubrication (atherosclerosis). Factors that cause occlusion of our heart vessels also cause peripheral artery disease, and moreover, most peripheral artery patients also have cardiovascular disease. Risk factors are diabetes, smoking, hypertension, male gender, high cholesterol and advanced age. Therefore, it would be appropriate to evaluate people with these risk factors in terms of peripheral artery disease. In addition, it is beneficial for people with cardiovascular disease to undergo an in-depth examination in terms of peripheral vascular disease.
What complaints does peripheral arterial disease cause?
In peripheral arterial disease, the complaints are related to the affected vessel. If there is a stenosis in the carotid (carotid) vein, a thrombus (clot) originating from here may lead to the brain and block one of its end vessels, causing a stroke (paralysis). In this case, with early intervention, it may be possible to dissolve the clot by various methods and to open the stenosis causing the clot. If this is done early (preferably in the first 2-4 weeks), recurrent strokes can be prevented.
Watch out for limping!
If the clogged veins are the veins that go to our legs, a walking pattern develops in the form of intermittent claudication (claudicatio intermitant) due to burning, pain and numbness in the legs, thigh area or lower knee area, which usually develops when the patient walks a certain distance. Most of the time, our patients can only continue walking after resting for a certain period of time.
If there is a blockage in the veins in the lower knee area, redness or sores that start from the toes and never heal develop, which is a serious condition that can often end with a bad ending. If these veins are not treated quickly, unfortunately, it can lead to gangrene and amputation (surgical cutting) of the foot or even the leg in question. Of course, the first aim is to diagnose and complete the treatment of the patient before he reaches this stage. However, even when foot wounds start, it is possible to heal these wounds and save the leg with appropriate treatment.
What are our treatment options in peripheral arterial disease?
Just like in cardiovascular disease, the priority here is medication and lifestyle changes. It is aimed to quit smoking, to control diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension, and to make the leg veins wider with plenty of walks. Our main slogan, especially in leg vein patients, is “stop smoking and walk”.
In the second stage, the decision for interventional treatment or surgical treatment is made according to the location and characteristics of the patient and the disease (this is almost always determined by an angiography).
Peripheral arterial disease is a serious disease group that threatens our freedom of movement by causing both the risk of stroke and loss of limb.