Is it Peripheral Neuropathy or PAD?

The board-certified specialists at Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC have earned an excellent reputation for providing the highest quality care for conditions related to circulatory health, including peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

Read what these experts say about peripheral neuropathy versus PAD and why it’s sometimes difficult to tell them apart.

Understanding peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that affects the nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves). The symptoms typically start in the feet and legs but can also affect your hands and arms and may eventually move into other areas as the condition worsens.

Common signs of peripheral neuropathy include:

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, and the symptoms often improve or remain stable with careful management of your blood sugars.

PAD basics

PAD is a common circulatory issue that causes narrowing of the peripheral arteries that supply blood to your arms, hands, legs, and feet.

Symptoms of PAD are most common in the lower extremities and may include:

As PAD worsens, the reduced blood flow can eventually result in tissue death (gangrene) and eventual limb amputation.

PAD may be linked to injury or inflammation of blood vessels. However, most often it’s caused by a buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) in your arteries that restricts blood flow to the affected extremities.  

How are PAD and neuropathy linked?

Along with pain, muscle weakness, and other similar symptoms, PAD and peripheral neuropathy share a common risk factor – diabetes. 

The relationship is so strong that we generally recommend those who have diabetes or have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy also undergo an evaluation of their artery and vein health.

Also, many of the factors that increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes play a role in PAD, including:

Individuals with heart disease related to plaque buildup in the coronary arteries (atherosclerosis) are also at high risk of PAD.

Why an accurate diagnosis matters

Because the treatment for these conditions is different, it’s critical to identify whether you have PAD, neuropathy, or both.

Mild PAD, for instance, often responds to the same lifestyle changes that help control diabetes, such as improved diet, weight loss, and increased physical activity.

Effective therapy for moderate to severe PAD, however, includes balloon angioplasty and other minimally invasive procedures that are designed to reduce or eliminate existing blockages in peripheral arteries and restore normal blood flow.

The evaluation offered at Vein and Vascular Solutions for PAD may include a physical exam, detailed review of your medical history, lab studies, ultrasound, and other painless imaging studies that assess blood flow through your peripheral arteries and veins.

Take charge of your vascular health. Schedule a visit at Vein and Vascular today!

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