Taking steps to learn about P.A.D., including asking your health care provider to check your risk, can help you stay in circulation longer to enjoy your life. Many types of health care providers diagnose and treat P.A.D. Whether you see a family physician, internist, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, the first step is to ask about your risk for P.A.D. Your provider will take a medical and family history, perform a physical exam, and conduct diagnostic tests. In addition, there are many types of specialists who take care of patients with P.A.D., including: vascular medicine specialists, vascular surgeons, cardiologists, podiatrists, and interventional radiologists.
Medical and Family History
Your health care provider is likely to spend some time reviewing:
During the physical exam, your health care provider may check:
When checking you for P.A.D., your health care provider may perform a simple noninvasive test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). Painless and easy, the ABI compares the blood pressure readings in your ankles with the blood pressure readings in your arms. An ABI can help determine whether you have P.A.D., but it cannot identify which arteries are narrowed or blocked. Your health care provider may decide to do a Doppler ultrasound test to see whether a specific artery is open or blocked. This test uses sound waves to measure the blood flow in the veins and arteries in your arms and legs. Your health care provider may also perform blood tests to see if you have diabetes, and check your cholesterol levels. Other tests are also used to help diagnose P.A.D. Talk with your health care provider for more information.