Poor diet and reduced physical activity in the pandemic era have given rise to several heart-related diseases. PAD or Peripheral Arterial Disease is dangerously on the rise. Diagnosis of this medical condition has significant implications on patient care and treatment. Correct detection and a timely blood test for PAD are important to cure a patient.
Do You Have PAD?
People with PAD often experience the following symptoms:
- Abnormal pain in the calf muscles and feet while exercising or walking
- Soreness and numbness of the feet and toes for a long time
- Cuts and wounds that do not heal quickly
- Changes in the skin color of the legs
- A sudden fall in the temperature of the lower body
You should immediately seek medical help if you have any of these symptoms. Early detection of PAD can help in controlling the disease from causing further damage to your health.
How can a Blood Test Help Diagnose PAD Disease?
In 2019 alone, the condition, which includes heart disease and stroke, was responsible for a staggering one-third of all deaths worldwide.
PAD cannot be diagnosed in your homes. If you have the signs and symptoms of PAD, approaching an experienced medical practitioner is always advisable.
A doctor can diagnose PAD in various ways. A blood test for PAD can help detect the disease at an early stage.
Blood Test for Sugar Level
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases like PAD. Increased levels of glucose in the body can thicken the blood. Fattened blood will stick to the walls of arteries and veins and restrict the flow of blood to all parts of the body. It can increase the chances of a heart attack in people.
A general physician will do a blood test for PAD to check glucose levels. The highly elevated sugar level in the blood could be a sign of PAD in many patients. Doctors can do further testing to verify the condition.
Lipid Profile Test
Unhealthy eating habits and reduced physical activities have given rise to obesity. Obese people tend to have a high level of cholesterol in their bodies. Also, people with a family history of heart disease, thyroid, PCOD, and other kidney-related problems stand a higher chance of having high levels of bad cholesterol in their bodies.
A complete cholesterol test or a lipid profile test can help to evaluate the risk of PAD disease in overweight patients.
A cholesterol blood test will calculate the levels of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides in the patient.
If your cholesterol levels are at a higher range, you may be further examined for cardiovascular diseases like PAD.
Blood Test for Kidney Function
PAD is a result of improper pumping of the blood to the lower part of your body. It can also affect the kidneys. A creatinine test is done to check if the kidneys are working fine. The test helps in measuring the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). It checks how fast the blood is moving through the kidneys.
The range of GFR depends on the age, sex, height, and weight of the patient. A lower GFR level is an indication of improper functioning of the kidney. A restricted blood flow to your kidneys can cause renal artery diseases like kidney failure.
A creatinine test can help in examining the body condition. It helps to analyze the chances of contracting PAD.
Other Methods to Detect PAD
The basic method of testing for PAD in patients is the Ankle-Brachial Index test (ABI).
The simple test checks and compares the level of blood pressure in the arms and the ankles using ultrasound.
If the blood pressure in your ankle falls lower than the pressure in your arms, it could be a sign of PAD.
In most cases, a doctor can detect the possibility of PAD by physical examination. Further testing is required if the patient has no history of any other medical conditions. Sometimes, a severe case of emergency may also require advanced testing.
Other kinds of advanced hospital-based tests for diagnosing PAD include:
- Intravascular sonography use sound waves for generating pictures of blood vessels.
- Angiography refers to an x-ray of the arteries and veins
- Computed Tomography (CT scan)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Taking proper medication and treatment can help in reducing the symptoms of PAD. Regular exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapist can help in the treatment of PAD.
Proper eating habits and a healthy way of life can keep all kinds of diseases at bay.