The body’s cardiovascular system can be divided into central (which supplies to the brain and the heart) and peripheral vascular system (which supplies to the rest of the body). Obstruction or narrowing of the blood vessels belonging to the peripheral vascular system results in reduced blood supply to these parts. This condition is also referred to as peripheral artery occlusive disease or peripheral artery disease.
The primary cause for the condition is atherosclerosis, which caused due to buildup of fatty deposits along the inner lumen of the blood vessels. This causes the blood vessel to narrow down, resulting in reduced blood supply to the peripheral parts. There are a host of other factors associated with the development of this disease,
- Diabetes- an endocrinal disorder associated with high level of blood sugar.
- Infections including salmonellosis and syphilis can cause narrowing of blood vessels.
- Arteritis or inflammation of the arterial blood vessels can also cause narrow the lumen.
- Birth defects may be associated with narrow lumen of arteries. These congenital causes may have an unknown etiology.
- Blood vessel spasms such as Raynaud’s disease can also cause constriction of the blood vessels and contribute to peripheral artery disease.
In addition there are certain risk factors that have been identified. These include cigarette smoking, advancing age, family history, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.
This condition usually affects the legs and the kidneys; it can also affect parts of the upper extremity. Reports suggest that a person with peripheral vascular disease is about six times more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke.
Signs And Symptoms Of Peripheral Artery Disease
In some cases of peripheral artery disease, the individual may not be affected by any signs and symptoms and the symptoms may manifest only in advanced stages of the condition. However some of the common symptoms associated with the condition include,
- Intermittent pain and sensation of cramping, muscle fatigue and heaviness in the legs
- Pain aggravated on exercise which is usually relived on rest
- Numbness and tingling sensation in body parts
- Bluish tinge of the skin due to poor blood circulation
In severe cases, the condition may lead to gangrene or tissue death. In cases of gangrene, the dead skin and tissue needs to be removed surgical in order to prevent the spread. This procedure is referred to as surgical amputation.
Natural Remedies For Peripheral Artery Disease
The natural treatment regimen focuses on modifying lifestyle practices and use of certain alternative and herbal therapies,
- Stop smoking, as smoking can lead to significant damage to the arteries. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of peripheral vascular disease by over 5 times.
- Regular exercise or yoga can help in improving metabolism, promoting blood circulation and strengthening the muscles. This helps in improving supply of nutrients and oxygen to peripheral parts of the body.
- Always avoid certain over the counter cold remedies -pseudo-ephedrine, which causes constriction of blood vessels and can aggravate some of the symptoms.
- Including onion and garlic in your diet is very beneficial. These foods have a natural blood thinning ability, which can help in treatment of claudication and other symptoms. In addition there are certain herbs that may prove beneficial, however consult your doctor before consuming them.
- Foot care is important, especially in people with diabetes, to prevent gangrene. Wash the feet regularly to avoid infections and use moisturizer between the toes. Also avoid walking barefoot to reduce possibilities of foot injuries.