Arterial Leg Ulcers

Peripheral Arterial Diseases and Wound Healing

Peripheral Arterial Disease, also known as PAD, is a rather common circulatory issue that is caused after the blood vessels get narrow and there is reduced blood flow to the limbs. The main cause of the peripheral arterial disease is atherosclerosis. In this condition, there is an excessive build-up of plaque on the walls of the arteries that carry blood to the legs and arms. Plaque is a clot of cholesterol and fat that blocks the arteries or narrows them after being stuck in the arteries. The blood flow due to the build-up of plaque in the arteries is affected and this situation can even lead to severe cases when there is not enough blood flow to meet the demand and tissues start to die, leading to the amputation of the leg or foot. Peripheral Arterial Diseases have a major connection with the wound healing process as well.

There is a minor difference between Peripheral Arterial Disease and Peripheral Vascular Disease. Peripheral Vascular Disease is a wider term that incorporates the damage to the blood vessels along with lymphatic vessels, and veins, while Peripheral Arterial Disease damages the arteries only. Some of the factors that can contribute to the development of peripheral arterial disease can include health issues such as high blood cholesterol levels, cardiac diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Smoking is another major factor that can cause this disease in a person. The people of older age are also more prone to contracting the peripheral arterial disease because of their deteriorating health conditions. These factors also add to the slow wound healing process.

Almost half of the people who are suffering from Peripheral Arterial Disease are asymptomatic, however, for those people who do show symptoms, the symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease can include pale skin color, wounds or sores on the feet or legs, absent or weak pulses in the feet or legs, numbness, pain, or heaviness in the muscles of the legs. There is also poor nail growth in the patients of PAD and they usually complain of having lower temperature in one leg as compared to the other. People with PAD usually feel pain when they climb stairs or walk, and their wound healing process takes rather long to complete.

If you contract PAD, you are also more prone to getting other major health problems such as transient ischemic attack, and increased risk of heart attack, and stroke. The treatments for the peripheral arterial disease can depend on the way you live. Although there is no cure for this disease, changes in your lifestyle can help you mitigate the impacts of the disease and slow down its progression. Exercising on a daily basis, quitting smoking, following a healthy diet, limiting fat, and managing risk factors can prove to be highly beneficial in treating this disease and can also improve the wound healing process.

One of the major links that can be found while addressing peripheral arterial disease is the link between this disease and wound healing. As there is mitigated flow of nutrient-rich and oxygenated blood to the legs, PAD can have a serious impact on the wounds of the lower extremity and can lead to poor wound healing. A peripheral wound is when a wound or sore can’t get enough supply of blood and there is not sufficient circulation either, this condition has an impact on the ability of the body to heal wounds and can augment the risk of infection. Vascular wounds or vascular ulcers are more severe and take longer to heal and sometimes, they may not even heal properly, leading to severe infections and aggravated health conditions.

In order to treat arterial ulcers, restoration of blood circulation to the impacted area is important. The symptoms can also be reduced if the underlying causes are treated with antibiotics, however, it is not enough to cure the ulcer completely. Sometimes, surgery is also required to restore blood flow to organs and tissues other than the use of antibiotics. In most cases, arterial ulcers can heal within a couple of weeks but if a person has underlying health problems, the affected area does not heal, and there are chances that that area might even increase in size.


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