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What Is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral Arterial Disease is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. When plaque builds up in the body’s arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, and other substances in the blood. Over time, plaque can harden and narrow the arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body. This condition may affect the arteries in the legs, as well as the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, arms, kidneys, and stomach.

doctor checking pulse on arm

More About PAD

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) or Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a progressive disease. Associated conditions include deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency. PAD is generally associated with clogged arteries in legs.

Arterial blockages are usually a result of hard fatty material building up inside the lining of the arterial wall in the legs. The hardening of these arteries is called atherosclerosis. This ultimately narrows and blocks the flow of blood, preventing nutrients and oxygen from being carried to limbs. A common location for this disease to develop is in the popliteal and femoral arteries which supply blood to the lower extremities. PAD narrows arteries inside the leg, therefore limiting blood flow to muscles. As a result, muscle pain may ensue. The symptoms are not always obvious and can actually sometimes take its victim by surprise, showing very little for symptoms or causing none at all.

Peripheral Artery Treatment


Dr. Ahluwalia uses a vascular angiogram to help diagnose peripheral artery disease. The angiogram is a test that uses a dye and X-ray. The X-ray will pick up areas in the arteries that are narrowed or blocked by plaque buildup, thus limiting blood supply. If the test shows that there is narrowing of the arteries, angioplasty and/or stenting are treatment options.

Walking Protocol

Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease should be considered for exercise therapy. Prior to prescribing an exercise therapy program, patients should complete a cardiac stress test on a treadmill to identify coronary ischemia.

Dr. Ahluwalia will tailor an individual walking program for his patients with Peripheral Artery Disease. In the beginning, some patients can only achieve 10 minutes of walking exercise in a single session. Duration of exercise should be increased 5 minutes per week till the patient can walk a minimum of 30 minutes per session. Patients are encouraged to increase walking/exercise sessions up to 45 to 50 minutes per session.

Laser Atherectomy

Although Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is serious, it can be treated. Treatment may slow or stop disease progress and reduce the risk of complications. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicine, and surgery or procedures. Dr. Ahluwalia performs laser atherectomy to clear out the blockages in the arteries. To clear out the arteries Dr. Ahluwalia utilizes a laser that ablates through the blockages safely and painlessly. He makes a small incision in the artery where he works through and inserts the laser (which is a cool-tipped laser similar to Lasik eye surgery) to make contact with the blockage. Once the contact is made the laser breaks apart the molecular bonds of the blockage and cleans out the artery.

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Angioplasty and Stenting

If you are dealing with Peripheral Artery Disease, it is time to look into treatment options that will provide you with the relief and safety your body deserves. Peripheral Artery Disease is a common disease that affects a large portion of the older adult population. Angioplasty and stenting procedures are excellent methods of treating Peripheral Artery Disease. Angioplasty and stents are used to open up the blocked arteries. The angioplasty procedure involves our doctor using a balloon attached to a catheter to open up the artery. If the artery does not stay open after the angioplasty procedure, our doctor may place a stent in the area to hold the artery open. Blocked arteries are not something to ignore. That is why our practice offers a variety of treatment options, including angioplasty and stenting, to help you get the care you need.

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