Take a Peek: Your Skin and Peripheral Artery Disease

Effective Skin Care Tips for Those Living with PAD

Tips for Skin Care with PAD

Is Your Skin Trying to Tell You Something?

You may think that peripheral artery disease (PAD) only affects your blood flow, but believe it or not, it can actually show up on your skin. Many people with PAD notice changes on their feet and legs that can be quite alarming. We’re talking about skin that feels cool to the touch, redness or changes in color, changes in texture (skin that’s brittle or shiny in spots), thinning leg hair, and even sores that take forever to heal. It turns out that your skin is a sneaky little snitch, and it’s trying to warn you about what’s happening inside your body.

Dermatologist Jeremy A. Brauer, MD, founder and director of Spectrum Skin and Laser, explains that while your skin may be considered external, it can be a reflection of your internal health. So, even if you’re not initially aware of any underlying disease, your skin, hair, and nails may just be the first ones to catch on and give you a heads up.

Listen to Your Skin, Time to See a Doctor!

Okay, okay, we get it. Your skin is chatty and has something important to say. So, what should you do when it starts blabbering about changes? Well, it’s time to pay attention and take action! Keep track of any changes you notice and notify your dermatologist or doctor. Here’s a helpful list of symptoms to watch out for:

  • Redness, pale spots, or other color changes on your feet and legs
  • Cuts, blisters, cracks, or scratches that refuse to heal
  • Burning or aching pain in your feet
  • Skin that feels as cool as a cucumber when you’re not cold

Remember, these skin symptoms might seem harmless at first, but they can be signs that PAD is advancing. If left untreated, you might be at a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack, stroke, or other serious conditions caused by those pesky blockages in your blood vessels.

The Skinny on PAD and Your Skin

Alright, let’s dig a little deeper into why your skin is acting up. It all comes down to circulation problems, my friend. When you have PAD, your arteries become narrower or even blocked, making it a struggle for oxygen and nutrient-filled blood to flow freely down to your legs and feet. Talk about a traffic jam! If things get really bad and blood circulation is completely cut off, you could end up with gangrene—yep, the death of body tissue. In some cases, amputation might even be necessary. Yikes!

Aside from changes on the surface, you might also experience pain in your feet or legs when you’re walking or moving. But don’t worry, taking a break and giving your lower body a well-deserved rest should make that pain go away. It’s like your body’s way of saying, “Hey, chill out, I don’t need as much blood circulating down here right now.”

Skin TLC and Seeing the Doctor

If you already have PAD and have noticed some not-so-pretty changes on your skin, make sure to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. They can help you treat those skin concerns and provide further evaluation to see if there’s anything more serious lurking beneath the surface. Remember, your feet and legs, in particular, have to deal with the brunt of PAD, so they deserve a little extra love and attention.

While you’re at it, try to keep those showers short and sweet—lukewarm, not scorching hot! And don’t forget to moisturize afterward to keep your skin hydrated and happy. But remember, skin health is just a piece of the puzzle. To manage a systemic disease like PAD, you need to take care of your entire body. Brauer recommends eating well, getting enough sleep, and following a healthy, well-balanced diet. Oh, and it’s time to kick that smoking habit to the curb! Trust us, your skin and your whole body will thank you.

Let’s Wrap It Up

Alright, folks, it’s time to wrap things up. Take a moment to check your skin regularly for any changes, and don’t be afraid to seek medical attention if something seems off. Remember, your skin is like a loyal informant, always looking out for your overall health. So, show it some love and give it the attention it deserves. Your well-nourished skin will be your ally in managing PAD and maintaining a healthy body. Stay healthy, stay informed, and keep rocking that radiant skin!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.