If you are experiencing tingling, numbness, or other uncomfortable feelings in your arms or legs, you might have peripheral artery disease. At Chetco Medical & Aesthetics in Brookings, Oregon, we can use a quick, non-invasive method to analyze your ankle brachial index and determine whether you might be suffering from this disease. Read on to learn more about the benefits of this diagnostic tool.
What Is a Normal Ankle Brachial Index?
Your ankle brachial index is a measurement that describes the relationship between the blood pressure at your ankle and the blood pressure at your arm. This index is frequently used to diagnose peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD. A low result may indicate that you are suffering from this condition.
A Normal Result
A resting ankle-brachial index number between 1 to 1.4 is usually considered to be normal. This number shows that the blood pressure that we measured at your ankle is the same or higher than the blood pressure that we measured in your arm.
This reading suggests that you are not suffering from PAD. However, if you are experiencing negative physical symptoms, we may need to perform additional tests to diagnose the cause of these issues.
A Borderline Result
An index number between 0.91 and 0.99 suggests that you may be experiencing borderline PAD.
A Low Result
An index number that is 0.90 or lower is considered to be an abnormal result that suggests that you are suffering from PAD. If you receive this result, you might need to get further diagnostic tests. For example, you might need to get an angiography or an ultrasound.
What Will My Diagnostic Test Be Like?
Since this test is quick and non-invasive, you will not need to change your diet, exercise program, or other activities during the weeks before your test. However, you should wear comfortable, loose clothing when you visit our office in Brookings. Wearing loose clothing will make it easier for us to measure your blood pressure.
Resting Your Body
After you arrive at our office, we may instruct you not to engage in physical activity for up to 30 minutes. Following this instruction before your test will enable us to determine your blood pressure when your body is at rest.
Measuring Your Blood Pressure
Although the specifics of your test will vary, we will typically begin by instructing you to lie down on your back. Once you are in position, we will put an inflatable cuff onto your arm. As this cuff inflates, it will put pressure on your arm. We will also put an ultrasound machine onto your skin. This machine will use sound energy to give us information about your blood flow.
We will repeat this technique with your other arm and both of your ankles. Although you will feel a little pressure as the cuffs inflate, this is a very comfortable technique, and there’s no need for you to receive anesthesia during this test.
Completing Your Test
This test will take a couple of minutes to complete. You will be free to leave our office once we have finished measuring your blood pressure. There’s no need for you to change your behavior or follow any special rules once your test is complete.
Why Am I Suffering From Peripheral Artery Disease?
PAD develops when the arteries that provide blood to your limbs become damaged. Over time, a fatty deposit called plaque can collect in the walls of your arteries. This process, which is known as atherosclerosis, will decrease your blood flow.
Although atherosclerosis is the most common cause of PAD, other issues can weaken your arteries. For example, exposure to radiation, injuries, or inflammation in your blood vessels can cause you to develop this disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease?
Although PAD does not always cause negative symptoms, there are a number of physical problems that indicate that you might be suffering from this disease. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should consider visiting Chetco Medical & Aesthetics to receive a diagnostic test.
PAD can cause you to feel discomfort in your legs when you are walking. This issue is called claudication. If you are experiencing claudication, you might have cramping in your legs while you are walking or going upstairs. It’s common to experience this feeling in your calves, thighs, or hips. Your cramps may go away if you rest for a couple of minutes.
The severity of your walking issues will vary. For example, you might experience mild issues that don’t prevent you from engaging in your favorite activities. Alternatively, you could have severe discomfort that stops you from doing household chores and other tasks.
In addition to difficulties with walking, PAD can cause you to experience other types of leg issues. For example, the skin on your legs could become shiny. You may also develop sores on your toes, feet, or legs. These sores may fail to heal properly. PAD can also change your legs’ color and cause the hair on your legs to grow more slowly.
As you continue to suffer from PAD, your symptoms may worsen. In particular, you might begin to feel uncomfortable when you are not engaging in physical activities. For example, you might feel discomfort when you are in your bed. This symptom may prevent you from obtaining restful sleep at night.
How Can I Treat My PAD?
If your test shows that you are suffering from PAD, you shouldn’t feel discouraged or frightened. There are a number of effective medications, lifestyle changes, and other treatments that can decrease your symptoms and improve the condition of your arteries.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Making lifestyle changes can be a very effective way to treat PAD. In particular, quitting smoking is a good way to improve your health and decrease your risk of experiencing PAD-related complications. In addition, you might be advised to take part in a supervised exercise program. Slowly increasing your physical exercise under the guidance of a healthcare professional will strengthen your body and improve your walking ability.
In addition to exercise, you may be instructed to adjust your diet. In particular, avoiding saturated fat will decrease your cholesterol and blood pressure. These changes can help to strengthen your peripheral arteries.
Medications can be used to lower your cholesterol, improve your blood pressure, and address your other medical issues. For example, reducing your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol can be a good way to decrease your risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack. In general, your medical provider will try to lower this type of bad cholesterol to less than 2.6 millimoles per liter.
In addition to correcting your cholesterol, medications can be used to manage your blood sugar. If you are suffering from PAD and diabetes, it’s very important to carefully manage your glucose levels. Medications may be able to help you accomplish this goal. Further, you might need to take aspirin or other medications to decrease your chances of experiencing blood clots.
Care for Your Feet
PAD will increase your risk of developing injuries, infections, and sores on your feet. As a result, you should try to take very good care of your legs and feet. In particular, you should be very careful when you are cutting your nails. In addition, you will need to check your feet each day to see if you have developed any injuries. If you develop an issue, you should receive prompt treatment from a healthcare professional.
Get Emotional Support
Dealing with a medical condition that interferes with your ability to walk and enjoy other physical activities can be very challenging. It’s normal to experience depression and other emotional issues during this time. If you are struggling with emotional problems, you should consider getting help from a therapist or other medical professional. Your friends and family members can also give you extra support while you are treating your PAD.
In addition, you could consider joining a support group that includes other people who are experiencing PAD. Talking with your peers can help you feel less alone. Sharing your experiences with others can also motivate you to adopt healthy lifestyle changes and adjust to your new medications.
Receive a Medical Procedure
In some cases, you might need to control your PAD by getting a medical procedure. During a bypass procedure, your medical provider will use special techniques to help your blood flow around your damaged artery. To achieve this goal, your doctor may use a synthetic blood vessel or a healthy vessel from a different location in your body.
An angioplasty is another medical procedure that can be used to treat PAD. During an angioplasty, your medical provider will use a blood vessel to put a hollow tube into your damaged artery. Next, he or she will inflate a balloon at the end of the tube. This balloon will open your artery. As your artery becomes wider, blood will have an easier time moving through your body.
Can I Receive This Diagnostic Test if I Don’t Have Any Symptoms?
Under some circumstances, PAD will not cause you to have walking issues and other problems. As a result, you might benefit from getting a screening even if you are not experiencing symptoms. Diagnosing your PAD at an early stage will allow you to begin treating your illness and decrease your chances of experiencing medical problems in the future.
If you are over the age of 65, your medical provider may advise you to get this test. You also should consider getting this test if you are over the age of 50 and have diabetes. In addition, having high blood pressure or a family history of heart issues will enhance your chances of experiencing this problem. If you have any of these risk factors, you should think about getting your ankle-brachial index measured.
Will My Insurance Provider Cover the Costs of This Test?
Since this test is used to diagnose a medical condition, many insurance providers will cover the cost of this test. To determine whether your healthcare provider will pay for this diagnostic test, you will need to contact your insurance agent.
If your insurance company will not pay for this test, you shouldn’t worry. Since this test is straightforward and non-invasive, it is very affordable. In fact, this test is one of the most cost-effective ways to determine if you may be suffering from PAD.
Diagnose Your Vascular Issues
PAD is a medical issue that can cause you to have difficulty walking, develop sores on your legs, and experience many other frustrating symptoms. If you do not treat this disease, you might experience more serious medical complications. You can start the process of treating this problem by getting an ankle brachial index test. To learn more about this diagnostic test, contact us at Chetco Medical & Aesthetics in Brookings, Oregon.