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Discussion - Pathology of the Cardiovascular System - Essay Example

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Arteriosclerosis obliterans, or simply peripheral artery disease (PAD), is a cardiovascular system disorder that affects the blood vessels and circulation in the legs and feet of an individual causing tissue and nerve damage (Jain 397). The arteries narrow and blood flow become…
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Discussion - Pathology of the Cardiovascular System
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Pathology of the Cardiovascular System Arteriosclerosis obliterans, or simply peripheral artery disease (PAD), is a cardiovascular system disorder that affects the blood vessels and circulation in the legs and feet of an individual causing tissue and nerve damage (Jain 397). The arteries narrow and blood flow become extremely difficult as plague (fatty materials) builds up, thus the blood supply to the lower extremities is limited. Consequently, PAD causes the muscles in the legs and feet region to work twice the normal rate regardless of whether the person is resting or at motion. The disorder has a high susceptibility to individuals with high cholesterol, stroke, and smoking history.
Common symptoms include discomfort, aching, burning, pain, and fatigue in the lower muscles of the feet, thighs or calves. The symptoms at first may appear only during long walking distances, walking uphill or when walking faster. They then become persistent even with little or no exercise involving the legs. The legs become numb when the individual rests and the skin appearance turns pale. The touch of the legs is usually cold. Severe cases of PAD may lead to ulcers that do not heal, impotence, extreme pain when the legs are elevated and improvement when they are dangled, pain in the toes or feet even at the weight of bed sheets.
The signs include loss of hair in the affected leg or feet, weak or no pulse in the limbs and a whooshing sound when a stethoscope examines the artery. In extreme cases, the signs are thick toenails, cyanosis, and shrinking of the calf muscles.
Individuals’ self-care like balancing exercises and rest, reducing weight, quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure and monitoring blood sugar levels helps treat PAD. Medications like Aspirin or Clopidogrel, Cilostazol and pain relievers are used. In extremes, surgery may be performed with the options of peripheral artery bypass of the leg or angioplasty and stent placement of the arteries.
Work cited
Jain, Kewal. The Handbook of Biomakers. New York: Springer Science, 2010. Print. Read More
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