Peripheral Artery Disease Specialist

CardioVascular Institute of South Texas

Cardiologists located in Helotes, TX

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common cause of leg cramps and discomfort, but it often goes undiagnosed by primary care providers. With the cardiovascular specialist care available at the CardioVascular Institute of South Texas in Helotes, Texas, you can be tested and treated for PAD quickly and effectively. Cardiologists Tzy-Shiuan Kuo, MD, and Imam Tjahja, MD, provide personalized care and expert attention to detail so you get the best treatment possible. Call the office or use online booking to schedule a visit today.

Peripheral Artery Disease Q & A

What is peripheral artery disease?

PAD is similar to coronary artery disease (CAD), but it affects your peripheral blood vessels in your limbs, abdomen, and head. PAD causes a narrowing of these blood vessels due to a buildup of cholesterol-based plaques along the walls of your arteries.

What are the symptoms of peripheral artery disease?

It’s easy to mistake the symptoms of PAD for something else, such as muscle cramps, so it’s best to see the specialists at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas for a definitive diagnosis. Common symptoms of PAD include:

  • Cramping, pain, or fatigue in your leg and hip muscles
  • Discomfort that’s worse when walking or climbing stairs
  • Relief of symptoms with rest

If PAD is left untreated, it can lead to:

  • Leg ulcers
  • Gangrene
  • Limb amputation

PAD also significantly increases your risk of developing blood clots in your legs that may break off and cause a stroke or heart attack.

What causes peripheral artery disease?

PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a condition that causes cholesterol plaques to deposit in your arteries. These plaques eventually cause a narrowing of your blood vessels, which reduces circulation, most noticeably in your legs. Risk factors for developing atherosclerosis and PAD include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • A history of smoking or using tobacco products
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese

If you experience any symptoms of PAD or have these risk factors, get tested by the team at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas.

How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?

To diagnose PAD, the team begins with a consultation and physical exam. During your physical exam, they measure the blood pressure in your arm and compare it to the blood pressure in your legs. They may also feel your pulse in your legs and feet to determine if it’s weaker than normal.

Additional diagnostic tests include Doppler and ultrasound (duplex) imaging, magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and angiography. These tests are quick and easy to perform, so the team can diagnose your condition efficiently and get started with treatment if needed.

How is peripheral artery disease treated?

The main goals of PAD treatment are to relieve symptoms and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. The team begins with conservative measures, including lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or changing your diet, and cholesterol-lowering medications.

If these conservative measures aren’t enough, different types of surgeries are available to remove the plaque from the walls of your arteries or place stents to keep your arteries open.

Find out if you have PAD by scheduling a visit at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas online or by phone today.