How Is Peripheral Arterial Disease Diagnosed?

The human body is a wondrous thing that comprises many complex, interconnected systems. These systems keep your body humming along how it’s supposed to — but if one system gets kinked, many things can go wrong. 

One of those complex bodily systems is your circulatory system, which consists of your heart, blood, and blood vessels. When functioning properly, this system supplies your brain, muscles, bones, joints, and every other body tissue with adequate oxygen and nutrients. Your circulatory system also helps your body flush out waste, like lactic acid and carbon dioxide. 

If you have a blood vessel disease like peripheral arterial disease (PAD), your circulatory system may fail to function (or function well, at the very least). Dr. Lev Pukin of Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC explains what PAD is and how it’s diagnosed. 

Peripheral arterial disease explained

Your arteries are part of your body’s vast network of blood vessels, some of which deliver oxygenated blood from your heart to your body (arteries) and some of which carry deoxygenated blood from your body back to your lungs (veins). Another group of blood vessels — capillaries, the tiniest of the three kinds — exchanges nutrients, waste, and oxygen with your body tissues at the cellular level. 

Aptly named, peripheral arterial disease affects your arteries, which again are the blood vessels responsible for carrying nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood throughout your body. Without arteries (or with poorly functioning arteries) you wouldn’t survive. 

This condition involves narrowing of the arteries in your arms, legs, torso, and head. “Peripheral” in the sense of PAD means “away from the heart.” The other form of this disease, coronary arterial disease (CAD), involves narrowing of arteries in your heart. 

PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, or a build-up of fatty plaques on the inner walls of your arteries. If it gets severe enough, PAD can completely block arteries and inhibit blood flow to critical areas of your body, such as your brain. 

Symptoms of PAD

Perhaps the scariest thing about PAD is that it often shows no symptoms, or very mild symptoms. In people who do show symptoms, they may include: 

How do doctors diagnose peripheral arterial disease? 

Dr. Pukin and Dr. Kolesnikov diagnose PAD via a comprehensive suite of diagnostic tools. We begin the diagnosis process with a very thorough physical examination that includes checking for weak pulses in your legs. We also ask about your health history and current symptoms — so make sure to tell us everything. 

If we determine that you may have PAD, we recommend further testing. This includes a high-definition ultrasound that allows shows your blood vessels, and potentially an angiography, which shows how effectively blood flows through your body. Some people require even further testing. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with PAD, you’re probably wondering about your treatment options. Here at Sinai Diagnostics and Interventional Radiology, P.C., we offer treatment plans tailored to each individual, based on what’s best for your particular case of PAD. 

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Pukin, call us at 718-475-6586 or schedule an appointment online at our office in Brooklyn, New York.

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