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Lab and Vascular Services Building
Salem Hospital
81 Highland Avenue
Salem MA 01970
Tel: 978.354.2747

Peripheral Artery Disease

peripheral artery disease with north shore doctor
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a type of atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. It affects primarily the legs and feet, and prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching muscles and other tissues. In severe cases, patients can develop ulcers and infections and risk amputation on a leg or foot. A combination of two or more risk factors make it more likely that you will develop a more severe case of PAD than a person with only one risk factor (having a family history of the disease also increases one’s risk).
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Risk factors for peripheral artery disease

  • High blood pressure
  • History of smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol (high LDL and low HDL)
  • Inactivity
  • High-fat diet
  • Being overweight

Treatment for minor PAD

  • Eating a healthy diet to control weight and lower cholesterol.
  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Taking medication to control symptoms and lower cholesterol and blood pressure

Imaging tests

The Doppler/Duplex ultrasound

This test detects and measures blood flow and blood pressure behind the knees and at the ankles. Patients with PAD in the legs have a lower blood pressure in the ankles than in the arms. This ankle pressure is called Ankle Brachial Index or ABI. If your Doppler/Duplex ultrasound shows a decrease in pressure in your ABI, your doctor might order a CT scan (also called a CAT scan).

X-Ray exam

This exam uses a computer or scanner to help identify where your blockages are in the blood vessels in your legs. A scan called Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) may also be performed to identify where blockages are in your body.