There are common signs and symptoms that many of us are aware of when it comes to heart problems. Things like fatigue, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and others. However, are you aware that leg pain is a common sign of heart problems as well? Those who deal with chronic pain in their legs often associate it with muscle or nerve pain, but it can be a sign of a condition called peripheral artery disease, or PAD. With help from a cardiologist in Fuquay-Varina, NC at Champion Heart & Vascular Center, you can identify the cause of your leg pain and treat it.
What is PAD?
PAD is caused by the narrowing of blood vessels in the limbs. Your limbs are considered the periphery of your body as the blood vessels in them are the outermost part of the circulatory system. Your blood vessels will narrow after years of build-up of fatty plaque deposits accumulate on the walls of veins and arteries. Smoking, diabetes, and eating a poor diet are common factors that put individuals at risk for developing PAD as they age. The most common symptom most patients claim is pain in the legs and buttocks. Other symptoms often include cool skin, loss of hair on the legs, thin skin on the legs, ulcers, swelling in the feet and ankles, and slow healing wounds.
Ways to treat PAD
As with most medical conditions and modern medicine, there’s a way to treat PAD. Read below for information regarding suggestions and treatments that a cardiologist might suggest to help.
Smoking is a common factor for patients who develop PAD. Your heart health is often directly related to how much you smoke as chemicals in the smoke will thicken your blood and cause clots to form inside your blood vessels. Furthermore, smoking will also increase plaque formation. Quitting smoking is a significant step in the right direction to help you improve your overall health, especially anything that’s cardiopulmonary-related.
Exercising is the best medicine you can give your body. One of the many benefits that come with exercise your blood vessels dilate and get stronger from the increased production of collagen fibers. This means that your blood pressure will go down and your blood vessels will be stronger and more durable. A regular exercise routine is a great way to combat the effects of PAD and reverse the condition so you don’t feel pain in your legs anymore. It will also fight against heart disease by improving your overall health.
If you have a severe case of PAD, your cardiologist might put you on any of several medication options. Statins will help to decrease the amount of harmful cholesterol your body produces so the build-up plaque slows down. Blood thinners or anticoagulants are also great choices as they can slow the formation of clots that are the result of damaged blood vessels and thicker blood. Finally, vasodilators will help to open up your blood vessels so the blood can flow more freely through them without getting restricted by narrow vessels.
You can eat a healthy diet that encourages heart health. Foods like leafy greens, nuts, salmon, and oats are great if you’re dealing with a heart condition. These foods provide your body with tremendous benefits that can help to reverse many of the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Contact us for help
If you’re concerned that your leg pain is the result of heart problems, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist in Fuquay-Varina, NC. Our team at Champion Heart & Vascular Center can assist you with making necessary lifestyle changes and prescribe medication as needed. You can reach our Fuquay-Varina office at 910-304-1212 or send us a message using our contact form and we can get you in touch with your nearby cardiologist.