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Is It Neuropathy or Peripheral Artery Disease?

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20 May, 2024

Are you experiencing unusual sensations in your limbs, such as numbness or tingling? Or maybe you're feeling unexplained pain or discomfort when walking? These symptoms can be alarming and disruptive to your daily life. At National Vascular Associates, we provide reliable vascular treatment for local clients. Are you wondering whether it’s time to book an appointment with a vascular doctor? Identifying the cause of symptoms can be challenging, as they might be linked to various health conditions. Two common culprits are neuropathy and peripheral artery disease. Read below to learn more about the characteristics of each and the implications for your long-term health.

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Neuropathy

Neuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, involves damaged peripheral nerves, which are responsible for transmitting signals between your central nervous system and the rest of your body. This condition can affect various areas of the body and leads to a wider range of symptoms:

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Sharp, jabbing, or burning pain
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Altered sensation

These symptoms can progress over time, potentially leading to more severe complications if left untreated.

Diagnosing Neuropathy

Diagnosing neuropathy requires an evaluation by a vascular specialist to understand the cause and extent of nerve damage. The diagnostic process may include:

  • Medical history review
  • Physical and neurological examinations
  • Blood tests to check for underlying conditions
  • Electromyography and nerve conduction studies
  • Imaging tests like an MRI or CT scans

What Causes Neuropathy?

Several factors can contribute to the development of neuropathy, including:

  • Diabetes: High blood sugar can damage nerves, making diabetic neuropathy one of the most common types.
  • Infections: Lyme disease and shingles can affect the nerves.
  • Autoimmune diseases: Lupus as well as rheumatoid arthritis can cause nerve inflammation.
  • Trauma: Physical injuries or accidents that damage nerves.
  • Toxins: Exposure to toxic heavy metals and certain medications.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Lack of essential nutrients, particularly B vitamins.

Peripheral Artery Disease

PAD is a circulatory condition where narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs, which often leads to pain and mobility issues. PAD typically affects the legs but can also impact other areas. PAD symptoms can be subtle initially but tend to worsen over time and will require proper vascular care. Key symptoms to watch for include:

  • Leg pain or cramping during physical activities
  • Numbness or weakness in the legs
  • Coldness in the leg or foot, especially when compared to the other side
  • Sores on the feet, toes, or legs that refuse to heal
  • A change in the color of your legs
  • Loss of leg hair or slower hair growth
  • Shiny skin on the legs
  • Weak or no pulse in the legs or feet

Diagnosing PAD

If PAD is suspected, your vascular doctor in Newport News will conduct a thorough examination, which may include:

  • Review of your medical history and symptoms
  • Physical examination, focusing on pulses in your legs and feet
  • Ankle-brachial index or ABI test to compare blood pressure in your ankle and arm
  • Doppler ultrasound to determine blood flow in your arteries
  • Angiography imaging techniques to view the blood flow in your arteries
  • Blood tests to check for certain conditions like high cholesterol or diabetes

Risk Factors and Causes of PAD

Understanding the risk factors and causes of PAD can help in prevention and early detection. Common risk factors include:

  • Smoking: A serious risk factor for PAD because it damages vessels and reduces blood flow.
  • Diabetes: High blood sugar levels contribute to artery damage.
  • High blood pressure: Causes damage to the arterial walls, leading to plaque buildup.
  • High cholesterol: Rising cholesterol levels lead to the formation of plaques in the arteries.
  • Age: The risk of PAD increases with age, particularly after age 50.
  • Family history: A family history of vascular disease increases the risk.
  • Obesity: Excess weight contributes to other risk factors like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Do You Need Professional Vascular Treatment?

Neuropathy and PAD are serious conditions that require attention and appropriate management. At National Vascular Associates, we are dedicated to providing expert care for conditions like neuropathy and PAD. If you're experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Your health and well-being are our top priority, and we are here to help you achieve better vascular care. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a qualified vascular specialist.

Explore Our Other Treatments

Spider Vein Treatment
GSV and SSV Venous Ablation
Shoulder Embolization
Angioplasty Stent Atherectomy

National Vascular Associates

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