Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a disease that often occurs in older adults. In fact, the Mayo Clinic recommends that people over the age of 65 be screened for the disease. If you’re unfamiliar with PAD, learning more about it could help you to recognize the symptoms in your aging relative, so they can get help.
PAD is a kind of problem with the body’s circulation system. People who have it have narrowing in the arteries that carry blood to the arms and legs. People who have the disease often feel pain in their legs when they walk.
PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, which is a build up of fatty deposits, or plaques, on the inside walls of the arteries. Therefore, PAD can be a sign that there is a bigger problem. It could mean your aging relative has plaques in the arteries in other parts of their body.
Certain things can make it more likely that an older adult will develop PAD. These are called risk factors. Risk factors for PAD include:
- Getting older.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Family health history that includes PAD, stroke, or heart disease.
Among these risk factors, the two that cause the greatest chance of an older adult getting PAD are smoking and diabetes. If your older family member smokes or has diabetes, talk to their doctor about being screened for PAD.
Sometimes there are no symptoms associated with PAD or the symptoms are mild, so the senior may ignore them. Perhaps the most common symptom of the disease is pain while walking, which is called claudication. Claudication can be either pain or cramping. It can happen in the arms or legs during periods of activity. It typically goes away after a few minutes of rest. Other symptoms of PAD include:
- Numbness or weakness in the legs.
- Feeling cold in the leg or foot, especially in comparison to the other limb.
- Sores that don’t heal.
- Color of the legs changing or skin appearing shiny.
- Loss of hair on the legs or feet.
- Weak or no pulse in legs or feet.
If your older family member is diagnosed with PAD, senior care can help them with managing the disease. A senior care provider can remind them when it is time to take medicines used to treat the condition. In addition, a senior care provider can plan and cook healthy meals that help to manage other conditions associated with PAD, like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Senior Care in Oro Valley, AZ please contact the caring staff at Sunlife Home Care today at (877) 888-1311.
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